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5:12 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

St. Louis Police Department To Offer Training For 'Active Shooter' Scenarios

Credit Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Police Department is planning free seminars for businesses and schools to receive training for an “active shooter” scenario.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the recent spate of high-profile tragedies across the country underscores the need for more training.

Shortly after taking over as chief Dotson met with the representatives from public and private schools to begin the process.

“We asked them, what they wanted from their police department to help them prepare for incidents on their campuses,” says Dotson.  “Not once did we hear 'more guns.' What we heard was 'help us with evacuation plans, help us with single-point entry, look at our plans and help us make our facilities safer.'”

Police Major Joe Spiess will be leading the training.  He was among the first to respond to the shooting in 2010 when a disgruntled employee of St. Louis’ ABB Inc., turned on his co-workers, killing three and wounding five.

Spiess says the department has established protocols for active-shooters, but there are also key differences between businesses and schools.

“What we found as we’ve studied school violence is that oftentimes parents see the symptoms, see the warning signs,” says Spiess. “But are reluctant to bring those [concerns] to the school because of the reaction they believe the school would have—which would be to remove the kid from school.”

The 2 free seminars will be hosted at Ameren Corporation Headquarters on Feb. 15.

Prior registration is required, and photo ID is necessary for admittance.

Follow Adam Allington on Twitter:  @aallington