Active Shooter: How to Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives

Workplace violence affects a staggering number of Americans. It’s important to know how to minimize risk in an active shooter situation.

Posted by Timothy Dimoff in on April 12th, 2016

Any business is a potential target for an active shooter or hostile intruder. While we often hear of workplace shootings, anyone attempting to kill people may not limit their weapons of choice to firearms. They may also use bladed weapons, tools, vehicles, bombs, etc. For the purposes of this blog, I will refer to the situation as “active shooter situations”.

Active shooter situations are often unpredictable and can evolve quickly. In a previous blog I outlined tips for your survival if you find yourself or your employees in an active shooter situation. Today, I will offer tips for what to expect and how you should deal with law enforcement when they arrive.

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First and foremost, law enforcement is there to stop the active shooter. The first thing they will do is to go to the area where the last shots were heard.

What to Expect from Law Enforcement

There will be rescue and medical teams that will follow the initial officers to help with any injuries.
Expect the officers to arrive in teams, often four officers to a team. There may be several teams. Most likely, they will be wearing bulletproof vests and other equipment. They will most certainly be armed with rifles and other weapons, as well as tear gas, etc. They are there to find and stop the shooters, so don’t be surprised when they don’t stop to help any injured persons. There will be rescue and medical teams that will follow the initial officers to help with any injuries.

Do not be alarmed if they shout commands or push people down. This is done for your safety. It is important that you remain calm and follow any instructions they may give.

1. Put down any items you may have including purses, jackets, bags, etc. and raise your hands with your fingers spread.

2. Make sure to keep your hands visible at all times.

3. Don’t point, scream or yell.

4. And definitely don’t make any quick movements toward the officers.

Evacuate Calmly

Remember, any workplace is a potential target.
If the officers instruct you to evacuate the premises, don’t ask them anything. Just move out in an orderly manner as instructed. When you have reached a secure location, you will be held there for a time until the officers are certain everything is under control and all witnesses and persons have been identified.

Remember, any workplace is a potential target. If you follow my advice in this blog and in my previous blogs you increase the likelihood of surviving an active shooter situation.


Timothy Dimoff
Timothy Dimoff

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues.
He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University.

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