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How prepared is Edmond for an active shooter? City Councilman Josh Moore speaks with Chief JD Younger

June 08, 2022 7:07 PM | Anonymous

Edmond City Council Member Josh Moore speaks with Police Chief JD Younger

On City Council member Josh Moore’s Facebook page, he shared this exchange between himself and Edmond Police chief JD Younger:

“JD Younger is our Edmond Police Chief and we're fortunate to have him. In my time on council he's Always been willing to join the conversation on tough topics and think big picture. I don't think he would mind me sharing our most recent exchange.

Good morning Chief. Following the Uvalde tragedy, I have a couple of questions and may have more as additional information comes out. Thank you in advance for your time.

Can you explain how we are prepared if there were to be an active shooter at an Edmond school? Are we also prepared for an active shooter at a church or public event? Who decides how an active shooter is engaged in different scenarios (best practice) and how is that communicated between departments nationwide? Are you familiar with research around behavioral threat detection and is it discussed with EPS leadership? (You may be familiar with a book called Trigger Points.)

(response) Good Morning Sir,

Thanks for reaching out. I think many of us have questions and those will likely increase as we learn more about the decision points in the law enforcement response to the Uvalde massacre.

As you may have seen in some of the open source media coverage of this event, law enforcement has been generally in agreement with active shooter response tactics since the Columbine High School massacre. If a shooter is active (still firing their weapon), officers are expected to go directly to the shooter’s location and engage them with deadly force. One of the nuances in this particular situation appears to be the lack of armor for the responding officers. I understand officials have claimed their officers didn’t have shields or heavy armor and therefore didn’t want to enter the room with the shooter having the tactical advantage. Edmond Officers all have heavy armor (designed to withstand a rifle round) in their vehicles and supervisors have tactical shields. We have previously researched the purchase of ballistic helmets, but have not purchased them. I suspect that will be elevated as a topic of discussion based on this incident. I will be interested to learn more about the location the shooter was in and additional options law enforcement had in regard to entering or controlling the room.

Best practice determinations for law enforcement don’t rest with one particular entity. There are some fairly common standard bearers when it comes to tactics, most notably the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Again, active shooter tactics are well known and fairly consistent throughout the country. You likely recall the deputy that failed to enter the building in Florida in 2018 was actually prosecuted for Neglect of duty.

I am familiar with behavioral threat assessments. Actually, there are several evidence-based models for conducting threat assessments. I understand that EPS/SROs use a version of a threat assessment as part of their protocols. I would have to confirm exactly which model it is.

Over the last several years, I know that SROs have assisted EPS on several student assessments based on social media posts, electronic communications, written notes, and old fashion word of mouth.

City and EPS representatives will be meeting in the near future to review the security recommendations from the 2018 working group. I expect all the topics you asked about to be included in the agenda.

Please let me know if you have more questions.”

That is our City Council and police chief working together with information and how to make Edmond a safer community. I appreciate each of them so much! (SRO’s are School Resource Officers). Edmond Public Schools are also emphasizing or providing Social Emotional Learning – SEL in the feeder Pyramids of each high school, so a troubled student can get help before they have a trigger point.

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