I am extremely pleased with the overwhelming response we have received from officers throughout the country to our Department of Homeland Security pre-approved Immediate Action Teams (IAT) course. Agencies all over the United States and US Territories see the value of this training and are taking action. It's application to all law enforcement officers, no matter rank or divisional assignment, is widespread.
There is little doubt that the average American can quickly and accurately list the five major metropolitan areas inside the US where crime is most likely to occur. Unfortunately, most Americans and even many law enforcement officers stood back and collectively said, "I wouldn't have dreamed it could happen here" when active shooter events in schools galvanized towns like Jonesboro, AR; Pearl City, MS; West Paducah, KY; Bethel, AK and so many others since. These incidents required law enforcement to re-think our responses to active shooter events.
The concerns with schools have been exacerbated since Columbine. Other deadly shootings in schools and universities and shopping malls have kept the need for training a top priority but we cannot become myopic in our view of what a violent event looks like in a school. The events that unfolded on September 4th, 2004 in Beslan, Russia displayed to the world that children are considered legitimate targets of terrorists (although this was the case long before this event). Let us not forget Beslan, the confiscated video tapes of Al Qaeda training for school takeovers, the 300 plus terrorist attackson schools around the world or Bin Laden's statements that he will kill one million of our children.
Simply stated, at some point in the near future, another state and local law enforcement jurisdiction will have to respond to a violent attack at one of our nation's schools. It is our duty to protect the innocent from the next attack that we all know is coming. Train hard, train often and be prepared because success is not by chance.
-- Chadd Harbaugh, GTI President