Advice from local police chief on dealing with active shooters

WASHINGTON — On a recent “60 Minutes” segment, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier talked about a strategy that’s been recommended when dealing with active shooters: run, hide, fight.

Her comments generated headlines, but the recommendations have been around for years, based on research of mass shootings dating back to 2000. The federal government released guidelines directed to houses of worship in 2013 — not long after the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Asked about the strategy at a news conference this week, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger referred to a five-minute video produced by the City of Houston in 2012. (Editor’s Note: This video may be upsetting to some.) In it, an active shooter scenario plays out, with each strategy explained.

Manger says it’s difficult to tell people precisely what to do, but, just as Lanier did in her interview with “60 Minutes,” Manger pointed out that most casualties occur within the first few minutes of mass shootings.

“Most of these shooters,” Manger says, “are looking for a body count. … The preferred actions are in order: Run, hide, fight.”

That last recommendation, Manger stresses, should be taken only when potential victims are faced with no other option.

“Fighting is a last resort, but sometimes, that’s the only option left,” Manger said.

The strategies were a subject of debate when first released, especially when considering how schools should implement safety plans.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up