GAINESVILLE – Gainesville Police Corporal Drew Reed asked the same question several times during his presentation: “What would you do?”
Reed has a special responsibility with the Gainesville Police Department: he and a couple of other officers facilitate a program called CRASE, an acronym for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events.
Reed asked those four simple words several times because most people have never seriously considered what they would do if they were suddenly in a life-or-death situation where a person or persons were on a killing spree.
“Unfortunately these occur almost daily in our country now – sometimes you may not even hear about it,” Reed said.
About 75-people sat attentively Thursday evening, listening closely to Reed’s message at the Gainesville Justice Center.
Reed said prior to the start of the session, “All we’re going to talk about is the ‘Avoid. Deny. Defend.’ strategy: avoid the attacker, deny access…and then defend yourself if all else fails.”
“The last thing we want people to do is just lay down and die,” he added.
That, however, is what happens all too frequently, said Reed, referring to statistical data gathered in the aftermath of recent mass shootings.
CRASE has become the preferred common strategy according to Reed. “Texas State University came up with this program… the FBI in 2013 now says this is the standard and this is what they want everyone to use.”
CRASE is the civilian side of the FBI approved program; ALERRT, or Active Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, is the policing side of that common strategy according to Reed.
Reed advised, “Every now and then run a scenario through your head…if you’re out to dinner with your family (ask yourself), ‘If there was a shooter here what would I do?’ Just simple things like that every now and then.”
Reed said that groups interested in hosting a CRASE session can contact him or Corporal Jessica Van through the Gainesville Police Department, or they can email them at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
James and Vicki Lester of Gainesville sat near the front during the presentation and said they learned a lot form CRASE.
“I learned a lot,” James Lester said. “The main thing is the plan. When you walk into a place kind of look around and think about a situation happening and look for your escape routes and think about what you would do if an active shooter was involved.”
His wife agreed. “I heard some things I never heard before so it makes me think…to think about what we would do if something happens.”
“What impressed me is how dumb sometimes,” James said about some of the things people do in actual shooter events. “People want to grab their pocketbooks, they want to get their computers, they want to get their stuff; when there’s an emergency they should take-off and not worry about that stuff; it’s not that important.”
(To hear a brief interview with Cpl. Reed use the audio player to the left.)