OXFORD • With two active shooting events occurring within a week, as well as a Walmart shooting in Southaven recently that was too close to home, the Oxford Police Department decided to offer its Active Shooter for Civilians Training to the public on Thursday.
Oxford Police Department Administrative Capt. Alan Ivy spoke to more than 100 people at the Oxford Police Department training building about what they could do to protect themselves during an active shooting event.
It was their biggest crowd at the Oxford Police Department facility, and many came in direct response to the recent events.
“Seeing the Walmart shooting, and then the two in El Paso (Texas) and (Dayton) Ohio, it feels like it’s getting to be so common and I want to know what I should do if I ended up in that situation,” said Rebecca Conners, 64, of Oxford.
Ivy emphasized the goal was to teach people to begin mental scripting how they would respond to an active shooter event so they would be prepared and not freeze up.
“If you practice it, it will come to you when you need it,” Ivy said.
Ivy started out by telling people that the subject was going to be dark. He went through the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) course, which uses the premise of Avoid, Deny, and Defend (ADD). ADD is important because it talks about how a person should respond in order of preferred method to last resort.
Avoid means avoiding the shooter completely, which often means escaping.
For Tanice Upshaw, 44, of Oxford, she learned “what to do to get away from a situation,” and said she was inspired to attend Thursday’s training to learn how to protect herself and her family.
If escape is not possible, such as in one video example Ivy shared of a Virginia Tech shooting survivor who said the shooter purposely locked all exits, the next best option is to deny, which means blocking off entry to the shooter.
The last tenet, defend, is a last resort. Ivy emphasized this is the case even if a person has a license to conceal carry. A gun should only be drawn if a person is forced to defend themselves; otherwise he suggests attempting to avoid or deny first.
Afterwards, interim Chief of Police Jeff McCutchen thanked people for attending and asked people to share the information with others. He emphasized that Oxford PD is willing to take similar training out into the community to help teach it and save lives.
One attendee said that she took the training as a sign that this is something everyone should learn.
“If they’re offering this service, I think that shows that citizens should learn as much as they can about it. They’re giving us the material; all we have to do is show up,” said Tracey Anderson, 52, of Belden.