OPD, 88 Tactical weigh in on strategies in active shooter situations

By: Jeremy Maskel, KETV NewsWatch 7

Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino put the country on high alert, and authorities are pointing to the role civilian training can play in prevention.

“Businesses cannot ignore this anymore,” Omaha police Sgt. Bob Wondra said.

Wondra knows in an active killer event there may be options that could save lives, but people need to understand what to do.

Metro law enforcement have trained each year for active killer scenarios since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

“We were one of the first agencies in the country to start training how to respond to an active killer,” Wondra said.

Learning from local shootings, like the ones that occurred at Von Maur and Millard South High School, in addition to international and domestic incidents, law enforcement is changing its calculus.

“Now what we’re seeing with time frames is that we don’t even have the luxury of waiting an additional 20 to 30 seconds for a second officer, because of how many people can die in those 20 to 30 seconds,” Wondra said.

He said most active shooter attacks last between six and eight minutes.

As was the case with the Von Maur shooting in 2007, that’s about how long it takes law enforcement to get to a scene.

“As fast as we can, and again, it still takes so much time to get there,” Wondra said.

That’s why more trainers — public and private — are teaching civilians about active killers. Companies like 88 Tactical share lessons for those armed and those who aren’t.

“Our company’s model is based on the fact that the first person at the scene is the true first responder,” 88 Tactical employee Trevor Thrasher said.

Wondra has shared his lesson on safety, called the “seven outs,” in 200 presentations.

The outs are as follows:

  • Figure out what’s going on
  • Get out to safety, if possible
  • Call out to 911 with specific information that is known
  • Hide out if escape isn’t feasible
  • Keep out, think how to barricade space
  • Help out if others do not know the protocol
  • Take out the attacker as a last and final resort

“It’s one more drill we need to add to fire drills, tornado drills,” Wondra said.

Both Omaha police and 88 Tactical offer on-site assessments for businesses. The Omaha Police Department goes to neighborhood associations and talks about the strategy, and says this isn’t something just for big companies or government offices, but for all organizations to think about and prepare a plan.

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