Orem Police arms citizens with active shooter training

Posted at 8:03 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 11:01:07-05

OREM – It’s not a matter of if, but when. The thought of finding yourself in an active shooting situation isn’t pleasant, but law enforcement says it’s a reality you should prepare for.

That’s why the Orem Police Department is arming everyday people with skills on how to survive if and when a shooter strikes.

A training video used by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows a gunman can strike anywhere, whether it’s a mall, at work or at school.

Real life terror played out in San Bernardino, California in December when a man stormed into a county building and killed 14 people. The horrific act stunned law enforcement across the country, including here in Utah.

“After the San Bernardino shooting, we decided to be more proactive as a police department,” said Detective Michael Paraskeva with the Orem Police Department.

Orem Police decided to offer free, active shooter trainings to the public, and they are the first agency in Utah to do so. On February 25, people 18 years and older can take a one-hour course and learn about tactics to use when they encounter a shooter.

“We kind of base our Power Point or our presentation on Run. Hide, and fight program,” said Paraskeva. “Things that might lead to that as far as the physiological factors one might see, and how you can overcome that.”

Lieutenant Lex Bell with the Unified Police Department is working on bringing a similar class to Salt Lake County.

“It's a great idea that Orem had, and something that we are interested in getting on board with," Bell said.

By spring, Bell is hoping to offer a 2-hour course for adults that includes classroom instruction and practical use.

“There's never going to be one of these events that's not tragic, period," he said. "They'll always be a loss of life, but if we can mitigate it a little bit: fantastic."

One-hundred people have signed up for the class in Orem. With the high demand, trainers are adding two more classes in March.

“What we're trying to do is get the public more tools, more knowledge, more information to where if they're ever in a situation. ultimately, if they took this class it might save their life,” said Paraskeva.

For more information about classes from the City of Orem, click here.