CRASE Classes in Franklin County, VA
With news coming Feb. 14 of another mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, people are looking to find ways to protect themselves if they ever are in the middle of an active shooter situation.
On Feb. 15, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office hosted its free CRASE class, which stands for Citizen Response to an Active Shooter Event. The class had been scheduled long before the school shooting in Florida with registration reaching capacity several days before.
“It’s open to the public, and we usually do it at The Franklin Center in Rocky Mount,” said Capt. Phillip Young with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. “For the class we had on Feb. 15, we had a waiting list.”
During CRASE, deputies teach participants to avoid, deny and defend. “So, your first objective is to avoid the situation,” Young said. “Put as much distance between you and the threat as you can. Then deny is, if you are in an office or a store at a mall, class at school, wherever you are, you deny, stack everything you can find against the door to try to deny entry into the room. Then the last resort is to defend. Use anything you can as a weapon to defend.”
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is planning another CRASE training in March and is also working with the school system to review school safety procedures, Young said.
Active shooter incidents prompt safety assessments in Bedford County, VA
The rise in mass shootings also has led the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office to develop a program to educate the public on the growing issue. The concern is especially great for several area churches since mass shootings have occurred in multiple churches in recent years.
“Sheriff Brown sent me and Deputy James Kirkland to training after the church shootings and mass shootings all over the country,” said Capt. Mike Miller of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. “So, we could come back and develop a program for Bedford County. We offer up this presentation/class for all of our churches, businesses and schools inside the county.”
Miller and Kirkland traveled to North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to learn about threats to businesses, churches, malls and schools. No community is immune to these threats, Miller said.
“Fifteen years ago, the worst thing we had was someone sneaking into the choir room and stealing money from ladies’ purses while they sang,” Miller said. “And now what we’re seeing is we’re having to go over security with our churches to make sure they are as secure as possible to ensure that when people go to this house of worship, they feel as safe as possible and that’s through education. The worst plan is no plan. The best plan is one that we can come to together.”
Miller said other municipalities have similar programs; however, the one offered through Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is free. That’s a point Miller said he wants to stress since there are security companies charging hundreds of dollars for the same service.
Right now, the Bedford County Sheriff’s office is working with three churches and one business, and each situation is unique.
“It’s an individual plan for each individual church or each individual business,” Miller said. “We usually do this in three stages. What we end up doing, using a church as an example, we’ll meet with the pastor and deacons, whoever is in charge of the church, and we sit down and fill out a threat assessment.
“We show them what we think their weak points are, and things we think might need to be addressed. They do the same thing with their threat assessment. There is a follow-up meeting on the threat assessment and then the third stage is a presentation to the whole church body to be able to educate them on if this is something that happens in the community, this is what we think works best.”
Miller said they work to come up with a plan that is feasible and fits into the budget of the organization.
It also is important to create a plan that fits into the framework of the organization’s mission, which can be difficult when the mission of the organization is to offer sanctuary and acceptance to everyone.
For more information, contact the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 586-4800 or the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 483-3000.
Denise Membreno, Special to Laker Weekly Feb 20, 2018
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