WYOMING — With the recent string of shootings happening in the country, Paul and Debbie Konopka felt they needed to be prepared in case they ever found themselves confronted by a gunman.
Thanks to a training program held by borough police officers, the two are now more prepared than ever for an active-shooter situation.
“We’ll just remember in case we ever need to use this information,” Debbie Konopka said.
More than 40 people attended the program Wednesday evening. Wyoming Borough Police Commissioner Michael Flanagan and officers Donald Nobile and Paul Bowen led the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events program.
The training informed residents on how to handled critical situations and how to prepare themselves.
“We talk about how the mind works,” he said. “We know that in many instances when a critical incident occurs that people freeze. What we do here is talk about how not to freeze and give a little insight on how the brain works.”
The officers used the training they acquired through an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program they went through earlier this year.
The program discussed three strategies to use when confronted by a gunman — avoid, deny and defend, or ADD.
Avoid means avoiding the shooter while deny refers to denying the shooter access to a certain area by locking doors. Defend, of course, refers to defending yourself against a shooter.
Flanagan said they considered waiting until the fall to do the program, but after the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, in June, he wanted to do it as soon as possible.
“In the summertime people are busy and that kind of stuff, but after the Orlando incident I said ‘No, we need to do this now,’” he said.
Throughout the program, the officers showed videos and a slideshow with examples of mass shootings, such as Virginia Tech in 2007 and Columbine High School in 1999.
One video included a real life school board meeting in which a shooter pulled out a gun and began firing at the school board members.
“When they see it front of their face it makes a better impression,” said Bowen of showing the audience the video. “No matter how much we talk about it, and we can talk about it until we’re blue in the face, nothing makes more of an impression than to actually see the incident unfold in front of their face.”
Mayor Bob Boyer was pleased with how well the program went and said he and Flanagan are working on doing similar programs in the near future.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher