ALERRT program trains officers, including APD, for mass shooting events

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Department officers are being recognized for their quick actions that helped save lives at the scene of the deadly East Sixth Street shooting that happened early Saturday morning.

Six of the officers there went through an active shooter training program called ALERRT. This program helps guide officers to make smart decisions quickly during what is likely a chaotic scene.

KXAN’s evening anchor Britt Moreno spoke to ALERRT Assistant Director John Curnutt about the program’s tactics.

Curnutt said ALERRT and Austin PD have a strong relationship where they swap training notes. The agencies will discuss what works and what doesn’t when officers go through active shooter training.

He said officers are first trained to “shelve and set aside natural human instincts” when they get a call about an active shooter. He pointed out how officers admirably put others’ safety ahead of their own.

“You’re trying to figure out what is actively happening. If there is active killing, you are trying to stop that,” said Curnutt.

He described how security was put in place quickly during the scene downtown, and that is why officers transitioned to giving out medical help.

If you find yourself in an active shooting scene, Curnutt said avoid being the target and get away as quickly as possible. If you are inside, then try to get into a room and close or barricade the door.

“Put something between you and them,” he said.

If you are in an open area, then look for things that you can hide behind. If your primary escape route is blocked, then understand “you have a right to defend yourself and other people,” Curnutt emphasized.

He said, “if you have no other option and proximity equals opportunity, then you should defend yourself.”

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