Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Officials Discuss Strategies for Mass Shootings at Meeting

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Last month, the FBI released a study saying in the last several years, the number of mass shootings across the country has increased drastically, a major concern for police officers. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

The FBI's recent study on mass shootings was an eye opener for many. It looked at 160 active shooter cases between the years of 2000 and 2013. Those shootings left 486 people dead and 557 wounded.

Law enforcement officials from around the tri-state area met at Monroe College in the Bronx to discuss the issue.

"How do you train the officers so that they go into that location and engage that threat while it's in progress to minimize the injury or death?" said John Miller, the NYPD's deputy commissioner of counterintelligence and terrorism.

Most of the mass shootings happened at business locations and schools. One in particular rocked the nation. Two years ago, a 20-year-old with mental illness shot his way through Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty 6- and 7-year-olds were killed, along with six staffers.

Michael Kehoe, Newtown's police chief, attended the Bronx event, saying whether you're in a big city or small town, you have to prepare for mass shootings.

"We're looking at this, this very unique crime with mass casualties and an active shooter, and we're putting more emphasis on it to try to either prevent or to effectively deal with it," Kehoe said.

In the last few years, the police practice of trying to talk mass shooters into putting their weapons down has changed. Police are developing ways to move in as quickly as possible to stop the shooter.

Experts say with many of the mass shootings, there were plenty of warning signs that a person was about snap and do something horrible, tragic lessons others can learn from.

"Fellow students, co-workers, therapists, family members to come forward and say, 'I am worried about so and so. They've made these statements, and I think they might mean it,'" Miller said.

"Maybe somebody calls up and says so and so has a weapon. Then, we have probable cause to get a search warrant," said Dan Oleks, an intelligence research specialist with the NYPD.

Police say the goal is to prevent tragedies, not respond to them.

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