LaGRANGE — LaGrange police officers are teaching civilians quick-acting, life-saving skills to use if a gunman open fire inside their place of employment or school.
LaGrange Police Lt. Eric Lohr, head of LaGrange Police Department’s training division and instructor for the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Training class, said the class has always been open to the community, but recent events in San Bernadino, California have triggered an influx an inquiries and requests from more local businesses and organizations
“We have been providing this training for the past couple of years for the school system as well as other businesses … such as Sewon,” Lohr told the Daily News by email. “Request for the training unfortunately is dependent on current events. For example, we began working immediately with the school system right after Sandy Hook.”
Lohr said he tailors the class to the specific needs of each business, school and organization.
“For example, there will be some difference between a business and a school, as a school will have a safety plan already in place … so as part of the training for them I review the safety plan beforehand and offer suggestions for modifications,” he explained. “We also incorporate a threat vulnerability assessment where we walk through the business and identify areas of weakness. The training essentially does two things: it provides awareness training that any citizen can use regardless of their location, and it also provides specific suggestions for businesses to reduce the likelihood of an event happening at the business.”
An event like one Dec. 10 at Midsouth Mechanical on South Davis Road, where Anthony Moss, 52, of Franklin, allegedly threatened to kill his co-workers with firearms he brought to the facility, according to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office. Fortunately, Deputies arrived and disarmed the man without incident to take him into custody, investigators stated.
While Lohr’s department was not at Midsouth Mechanical, he did take part in the Advance Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training or A.L.E.R.R.T. based out of Texas State University over the summer.
He said a portion of it focuses on civilian responses to active shooters and is what LPD’s class is based off as well.
Lohr said one of the main topics discussed is trusting personal instincts over an individual’s “odd” behavior.
“Almost every time there is a mass shooting someone is interviewed by the media and they talk about the fact that the person was acting strangely or was always confrontational … but they never did anything or said anything about it,” he explained. “We live in a society now where we are so scared to say something for fear of being sued or losing our job. However, many of these events could have been avoided if people simply spoke up. With that being said, there have been a number of active shooting events that have been thwarted because people have spoke up. However, you don’t hear much about that in the media.”
Lohr said he also recently started offering the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Training to folks who participate in LPD’s Citizen Academy.
Anyone interested in the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Training for their business or organization can contact Lt. Eric Lohr at 706-883-2675. There is no cost.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.