Law Enforcement Officers Attend First Responders Training at UTHSC

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As part of its commitment to emergency response and providing a safer campus environment, Campus Police at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center hosted more than 27 law enforcement officers from across the Mid-South last week as part of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT). The standard for active shooter response training, ALERRT was facilitated by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents.

“The safety and security of the Medical District and the Memphis community is of great concern to us all,” said Joanne Morrow, UTHSC Campus Police sergeant. “As long as there are active shooter threats and active shooter events, there will be a need to adequately train first responders on how to respond and save lives and keep our community safe.” 

Campus Police train on room entry procedures as part of the recent ALERRT training held on the UTHSC campus. (Photo by Natalie Brewer/UTHSC)

The four-day ALERRT training included both the Active Shooter Level I and the Active Shooter Level II courses and brought participants from more than 13 Mid-South law enforcement entities.

“Active shooter incidents are a legitimate concern for all college and university leaders, including police officials,” said UTHSC Campus Police Deputy Chief A.C. Knight. “It is incumbent upon us, as police leadership to equip our officers with the most up-to-date training available. It is also very important to train with agencies, such as the Memphis Police Department and the Southwest Tennessee Community College Police Department, as they are likely to respond to our campus in the event of an active shooter or active threat.”

An instructor for ALERRT said both courses teach simple tactics to stop the threat and get to and treat the wounded, preparing law enforcement officials as first responders in active shooter threats.

Training for the first two days focused on how first responders could isolate, distract, and neutralize an active shooter. Tactics, such as room entry procedures, identifying explosives, and evacuation of the scene, were also covered.

The final days of training included tactical emergency casualty care, which addressed the need for first responders to be properly educated in administering prehospital medical care at the scene to wounded victims, including how to control bleeding or severe hemorrhaging, breathing and airway control, and how to move wounded victims to safety. Deputy Chief Knight said, emergency medical personnel now train hand-in-hand with law enforcement to respond to active shooter incidents as a team, in order to save lives when seconds count.

“Failing due to a lack of training is not an option, because so many innocent lives are at risk,” Sergeant Morrow said. “A program such as this allows various agencies to learn and train together, which will enable the outcome of a joint response to an active threat be more successful. ALERRT is the best research-based active shooter response training in the nation. We want to train with the best in order to have the best response to these very real ongoing threats to our communities.”