Warnings to churches, biz with ‘active shooter’ scare

“Keep it simple” was the advice business representatives and municipal officials got about protecting themselves from active shooter scenarios, given during a Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Series forum in Fox Den Country Club Tuesday, Feb. 26.

“What I got out of it is you just have to go back, look at your own organization and see what your organization requires to be prepared for these events,” said Shannon Littleton, general manager of Lenoir City Utilities Board.

Rick Hill, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigations agent, counter-terrorism specialist and owner of A & A Investigations & Consulting made up a panel with Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler, His Security co-owner Scott Brockamp and Sam Roche, federal agent with National Nuclear Security Administration. Amanda Hara, news anchor for WVLT-TV Channel 8, facilitated the event.

“I think it’s really great we’re having this conversation (about active shooter),” Hara said. “Active shooter is defined as someone who opens fire indiscriminately on a large group of people with the intention to kill as many people as possible.”

She asked the audience, “What would we do? How would we react? What’s the right thing to do?

”We have all these experts here to tell us,” Hara added. “You just never know when a mass shooting, or even gun violence on a smaller scale is going to happen.”

“We all should be prepared,” Hill said. “We all should be ready to respond to an incident like this.

“We, as Americans, have gotten to this point whereby we don’t really become aware of our surroundings as much as we should,” he added. “For example, when you walked into this building this morning, did you take a moment (to ask) ‘where are my exit points?’

“If I hear something from that end of the room, what should I do? … Situational awareness (on what we do in our daily lives) is key.”

Though “statistics will tell us the chances of us getting involved in an active shooter situation is very low,” he added, “what I want us all to start thinking about and being aware of is being proactive in our daily lives and having a plan.”

He noted there are three things business owners and individuals want to protect: information, the facility or home and employees or family.

“Don’t overlook the simple things,” Brockamp urged. “A lot of it comes down to education.

“Streamline your accesses,” he suggested, explaining that means leaving only one way in and one way out of the building.

“It comes down to securing access points.”

“Don’t be someone who

thinks you can handle everything,” Spangler advised.

Church representatives wanted to know if some church members should carry a weapon in church.

“There are a lot of things that come into play, especially with church security,” Spangler said. “You have to be very careful about using that word ‘security’ in churches.

“There are some things churches’ insurance companies have to have with their regulations,” he added. “If you start calling yourself church security and don’t have the protective training you are supposed to go through, you are putting yourself in a very liable situation.”

“I’m not a proponent of everyone having a gun, but everyone should have training,” said Roche, who frequently leads medical and tactical training and courses. He also recommended all employees of a business should have first-aid training. Additionally, there are training programs, such as ALICE, that provide tactical training to businesses and organizations.