A quiet, calm auditorium seems like a strange place to learn how to handle pure chaos.
There’s little resemblance between the occasional note taking and the situations attendees take notes on.
Sandy Hook Elementary remains a prominent subject of study. It inspired the conference.
FBI Birmingham Field Divisions’ Phillip Celestini explains, “In the immediate aftermath of that shooting, President Obama and the administration got all of the law enforcement and emergency management and consequence management professionals together and asked what can we do from a federal level in order to assist first responders, particularly state and local law enforcement.”
In response to that question, the FBI created resources and gathered agencies here in this auditorium to share best practices.
UAH Police Chief Michael Snellgrove says the lessons projected here help fill in a blind spot, “We’re real good at tactical training and tactical responding after the event or during the event, but we’re not very good at the proactive assessment of a person’s psychological makeup.”
Maybe resources and diligent lessons can shift that mindset.
The FBI will continue trying until the last person disappears from their auditorium tours.
Celestini adds, “It’s completely free of charge, and we will do this training conference as many times as requested in order to make sure this knowledge gets spread around.”
But that extends beyond law enforcement. They need your help too.
Snellgrove echoes a popular sentiment, “If you see something, say something.”
Celestini encourages, “You have to trust your instincts – when something about a person just doesn’t seem right, when something makes the hair on the back of your next stand up.”
And that extends into the digital world as well.
Snellgrove points out, “One thing we’ve learned is with regard to YouTube. Many of these individuals have posted manifestos and have done it days before. People have seen these and done nothing about it.”
“Call the police,” Celestine says, “Let them know that you have concerns about an individual, whether it be online, whether it be in an interaction you have with someone in person, law enforcement wants to know about this.”