Sheriff promotes active shooter response model to council

Published: Jan. 4, 2013 at 4:40 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a heart stopping scenario: An active shooter in a workplace, a school or a movie theater. There's no way to predict if or where it will happen but Sheriff Al Cannon is promoting a new strategy that may save lives if it happens in Charleston.

Cannon presented a video, made in Houston, TX through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, to Charleston County council to get their reaction, Thursday.

Cannon describes the piece as a "five minute video that sends the message to people... that when you're confronted by an active shooter it gives folks insight into how they should react."

The video sends three simple steps that can be put to use in any public place: Run, hide and fight.

"The simplicity of this is you just present it and that's all you have to do," said Cannon. "You automatically increase the likelihood that somebody will react."

The video teaches what to do if shooting is taking place. The first step is to run to try and get to a safe place. Once there the video prompts you to call 911.

If you can't escape, the presentation suggests hiding. It describes how to make yourself as hard to find or make yourself hard to get to.

If all else fails the video says to go on the offensive and try to survive by fighting back if the shooter(s) are encountered.

"Often times these events happen quickly and the police may or may not be able to respond in time," said Cannon. "This gives folks some insight into how they should react."

At the council meeting, Cannon got a reaction from councilman Henry Darby, who was curious to find out if Cannon had a deeper agenda with the presentation.

"Do you think this is the way the country should travel?" asked Darby. "As opposed to traveling the avenue of the more sensible and reasonable means of gun control?"

Cannon responded by saying "if you take away the firearm you are not going to accomplish the underlying issue of what's going on in there to lead someone to commit such an act."

Council Chairman Teddie Pryor said after the meeting he is going to take a better look at the video and it's message.

"I would like to take a look at that video more extensively and of course get back with the sheriff and see if this is something we need to implement in our schools," said Pryor.

Although tonight was only intended as a presentation by the sheriff to get County council reaction to the strategy, Cannon said he's already spoken to Police Chief Greg Mullen and Charleston County Superintendent Nancy McGinley about the plan.

Sheriff Cannon said he will continue to promote this thought process in the County and beyond before he returns to County Council to discuss the possibility of a resolution in support of the program down the road.

The video can be found by following this link to Youtube:

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