After requests from residents, businesses and educators, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in University City are offering lecture-based training on how to survive in an active-shooter situation.
CMPD Officer Chris Kopp, a community coordinator in the University City Division, began offering the training in February and already has given the hourlong presentation several times, he said.
The training covers a history of active shooters and national statistics, and combines the philosophies of federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI with guidance from local police.
Kopp said the training is not tactical and does not include a hands-on component or scenarios. Instead, the focus is on survival techniques and options based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Run, Hide, Fight” program.
“It’s not going to teach how to address an active shooter, but mainly how to stay alive,” Kopp said.
So far, participants have ranged from elementary school teachers to the heads of security for stores including IKEA, Old Navy and Walmart, Kopp said.
“It’s a good sign it was a decent enough class that people are recommending it,” Kopp said.
With a background as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, military marksman and police firearms instructor, Kopp developed the course himself, using contacts from around the law enforcement community.
If the CMPD budget allows, Kopp said, he hopes to attend the national certification course – Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events – offered by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University.
“You can find classes that train law enforcement, but none really teach civilians and citizens how to address an active shooter.”
While offering the free training is just one facet of his full-time job with CMPD, Kopp said he will continue to work with groups as long as there’s an interest. And if demand for the course grows beyond University City, Kopp said, it’s possible the training could be offered in all 13 of CMPD’s patrol divisions.
But for now, Kopp said, he’ll continue to take baby steps to improve the course and offer it to those who are interested. “It’s new. It’s a learning curve for me, too.”