Gone are the days when one’s safety seemingly depended on avoiding phone and email scams, talking to strangers and keeping the house locked up at night.
With mass shootings reportedly on the rise, danger zones can be anywhere, from McDonald’s and Tops Friendly Markets to schools and concert venues. For some time now, and upon request, Batavia City Police members have been conducting civilian safety workshops to offer tips on how to deal with these horrific public events. Now they’re bringing one to the general public.
“We have on staff three, there might be four, officers that are trained in what's called civilian response to active shooter incidents. And we've given this workshop to different businesses at their request over the past several years. But obviously, with everything that's gone on in Buffalo, and then nationally, we saw an opportunity to deliver this to the community at large,” Chief Shawn Heubusch said during an interview with The Batavian. “We sat down as a group and thought, you know, we can do this as well, to try to prepare our community a little better than what they are. So it is something that we've been doing, we've usually been doing it at a request, this will be the first time that we actually push it out community-wide.”
The Batavia Police Department is conducting a Civilian Response to Active Shooter/Threat Events Class next week. There are two options to choose from -- 4 to 7 p.m. June 22 or 6 to 9 p.m. June 23 at City Hall, 1 Batavia City Centre.
This course is open to the public and is free of charge. It will provide strategies, guidance, and a plan for surviving active shooter/threat events. Le Roy has conducted the workshop and Batavia’s police department has given it to businesses, and more recently United Memorial Medical Center, upon request, Heubusch said.
He describes it as an “all-encompassing class” that includes videos, discussion, and some interactive exercises.
"We talk a lot about previous incidents, and what you can learn from those, and teach each other, teach everybody, how to survive these incidents, and hopefully get an idea of what to look for, or precursors if you will,” he said. “Learn some body language and some physiology about how you will react in a response to an active shooter event or an active threat event as well. So kind of a learning tool to understand what I learned my body will be going through just from a physiological standpoint of how the fight or flight issue (arises), and just kind of how you can work through that to survive.”
Those interested in attending should select just one of the two workshops. Although there will be signs advising attendees about the sensitive nature of the course, people may want to consider whether they want to remain for the entire portion or not, he said. Some people may have to be excused if they're not comfortable with it, he said.
“And it'll really be driven by what the class is comfortable with as well. Depending on the age group that we're serving, or you know, the abilities of the people in the class,” he said. “It’s really an overview, and giving everybody a general knowledge and some ideas of what to look for and, again, how to survive.”
Batavia City Schools is on the list for this course in the fall, he said. Heubusch encourages anyone that wants to attend, to do so, however, Batavia residents will be given first preference. Seating is limited and registration is required. To sign up or for more information, contact [email protected] with your name, address, and phone number.
You will receive a confirmation email once accepted, he said. In order to be admitted to the class, you will have to provide your name. Depending on the level of interest, BPD may offer additional courses at a later date and time.
Photo: Chief Shawn Heubusch