By Christine Bryant
As the country continues to mourn the deaths of five U.S. Marines at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn., active shooter scenarios remain on the minds of local law enforcement agencies.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office offers a free Active Shooter Response class to organizations, businesses, schools, hospitals and places of worship. The program, called CRASE (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) is popular among local communities.
In fact, she sheriff’s office has taught 57 classes so far in 2015 and about 70 classes total since starting the program last year. As part of an upcoming “Safety Week,” Grove City will host a CRASE course.
“Approximately 1,400 people have gone through the training since its inception in May 2014,”
Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott said. “CRASE has become one of our most popular programs that we offer.”
In addition to providing the program to companies such as Columbia Gas and OhioHealth, the sheriff’s office also has worked with government agencies such as the Franklin County Municipal Clerk’s office.
Though the Aug. 4 Grove City class is closed because of an overwhelming response from the community, Scott said he is willing and able to schedule another class if there is interest.
“I encourage those interested to go to our website and sign up for the class and we will accommodate those who are interested,” he said.
The Aug. 4 course is part of the office’s “Safety Week,” a new event in which the sheriff’s office will offer various programs for the community, including a self-defense class for women and a drug prevention presentation.
At the end of the week, the office will host a “Community Safety and Family Fun Day” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 8 at its training academy, 6347 Young Road, Grove City. Throughout the day, specialty units will have demonstrations and displays.
The sheriff’s office has teamed up with Pleasant Township Fire, Jackson Township Fire and Grove City Police to host this event, which will include a free hot dog lunch, a SWAT team fitness challenge and demonstrations by the bomb team, K-9 unit and dive team.
For Scott, working with the community during events such as this and providing CRASE courses helps organizations, businesses and schools create a plan for critical incidents – ultimately saving lives.
“When there is no plan, panic sets in quicker,” he said. “Providing this training to places of employment will spark interest in participants to think about safety in their home.”
The bottom line, he said, is law enforcement cannot be everywhere.
“We need the public’s assistance in keeping them safe,” he said. “Programs like CRASE will help do this.”
As part of the course, participants learn the “Avoid, Deny, Defend” method, and deputies teach simple tactics and perform real life scenarios so people have a plan in place to draw upon if confronted by an active shooter.
“Avoid by getting away from the shooter, running away if possible,” Scott said. “Deny by barricading yourself in the room, if you can’t get out. Defend, which is the last and final option, by fighting back against the shooter. Each method is previewed during the class with real-life scenarios.”
For more information, go to sheriff.franklincountyohio.gov.