How To Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives

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Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

  • Officers usually arrive in teams of four (4);
  • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment;
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns;
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation;
  • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety;

How to react when law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions;
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets);
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers;
  • Keep hands visible at all times;
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety;
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling;
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

  • Location of the active shooter;
  • Number of shooters, if more than one;
  • Physical description of shooter/s;
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s;
  • Number of potential victims at the location

The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons.  Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.

Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.  Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.


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