Law enforcement trainer discusses active shooter scenarios

WAUKESHA (WITI) -- The FBI has identified the dead suspect in Monday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old military contractor from Texas. In addition to the gunman, authorities said at least 12 people were killed and 14 others were injured in the shooting, which put government buildings on lockdown and sent police SWAT teams rushing to the scene. As we know, this type of incident can happen anywhere, including here in Wisconsin, where we've seen two mass shootings in just over a year.

Locally, law enforcement officials are constantly training -- learning the best techniques for responding to mass shooting incidents. Many of the training sessions occur at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC).

Brian Dorow helps train law enforcement officers at WCTC. He says this training is necessary and life-saving.

"Find the suspect and mitigate the suspect and stop the suspect from shooting. That is their sole purpose," Dorow said.

When a mass shooting incident is unfolding, law enforcement officers are mentally prepared for what's going to happen even before they arrive at the scene.

"Training kicks in. They are getting information. They know in all likelihood they are going to encounter an armed suspect," Dorow said.

That was the case on Monday at the Washington Navy Shipyard in D.C. A gunman entered the building and began shooting at people in a cafeteria from a balcony.

Soon after, police arrived, trying to determine if it was just one shooter or many.

"They're going to treat everyone as a suspect until they can get more information that would pinpoint where the suspect is, or where the suspect is, or who the suspect is," Dorow said.

In this case, police say they got into a shootout with the gunman, killing him.

The lead up to that confrontation creates a difficult situation for first responders who are trying to help victims.

"They start working together. What law enforcement will do is they'll clear an area and then they'll allow the EMS, the firefighters to come up and they will provide security for them while they're taking care of the victims. Then they'll move up a little bit further," Dorow said.

It is all in an effort to stop the shooter as soon as possible.

"That's how lives are saved, absolutely. Training kicks in and then it's not autopilot, but the officer knows what to do," Dorow said.

Dorow says that while law enforcement and other first responders have training, everyone needs to prepare. Dorow says whether at work, at home, or anywhere in between, everyone should have a plan that includes: run, hide and fight.