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OPOTA courses in the works on active shootings


Active shooters can strike anytime, anywhere. To help law enforcement and educators prepare for the possibility of such incidents, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) plans to launch two new courses in early 2013. Both are free.

One course, Single Responder Officer Response to Active Threats, will cover concepts and procedures involved when a lone officer arrives at the scene of an active shooting or similar incident. Participants will learn how to respond quickly — in a controlled but aggressive manner — to a situation in progress.

Another course, Active Shooter Response for Educators, is for teachers and school administrators. OPOTA is working with the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Board of Regents to provide the training. It will cover ways to identify potential problems in advance, appropriate steps during an incident, and the effect of privacy laws on sharing information with law enforcement.

OPOTA’s Mobile Academy already provides Profile of an Active Shooter. For information, visit

Working with your community’s schools

OPOTA training officer James Burke offers law enforcement agencies these tips for working with their schools:

  • Walk the schools on your beat to be familiar with their layouts and features.
  • Get to know the teachers to encourage communication.
  • Attend PTA meetings, and make yourself available to parents and teachers. Encourage them to contact law enforcement if a child’s actions, artwork, or assignments alarm them.
  • Be familiar with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks that students use to voice anger and plans.

For more information, view a Police One TV video on this topic that features additional advice from Burke. The video can be found at Enter the video title, “Active Shooters in our Schools,” in the search field.