Many Utah agencies train to ‘eliminate’ threats quickly

May 27, 2022, 7:57 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 3:02 pm

OGDEN, UtahAround the country and here in Utah, law enforcement are trained to run toward the gunfire, in the case of an active shooter, and eliminate the threat.

Ogden police, for example, say the community can have confidence that they will respond quickly to an active shooter.

Ideally, they head in in teams of four or two, but in this type of training, even a single officer first on scene is taught to run toward the danger.

“Even though they are low-frequency situations, they are high criticality,” said Eric Young, chief of the Ogden Police Department.

And that’s why Young said these trainings for something they hope will never happen here get so much focus.

“We have to train as if it’s coming,” he said. “That just our reality in this country.”

And many law enforcement agencies take that same approach. It’s done through what’s called Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, or ALERRT — part of a major paradigm shift that took place after the Columbine shooting.    

“I’m disturbed by all of these, but I guess I’d say I’ve been even more disturbed in the last few days because of the frequency and continuing. It’s just, something has to change.”

Young said he’s now working with the local school district to see what more can be done to keep schools safe. 

“We just can’t accept that what we do is good enough because it’s not working in other places.”

Changes may include having resource officers at elementary schools more often, though right now, he said, many ideas are on the table.

“Create an environment where our kids are going to school, feeling entirely safe every single day, and I don’t know if they feel that right now to be honest with you,” Young said.

Young added that he’s also looking into AI technology, where cameras are able to detect someone with a gun.

While that brings up privacy concerns for some people, he says events like the Uvalde shooting make it clear that we have to take advantage of the technology that can help.

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Many Utah agencies train to ‘eliminate’ threats quickly