Maryland offers active shooter training in Sykesville

Citizens learn how to protect themselves

SYKESVILLE, Md. - The mass shooting in Las Vegas happened more than 2,400 miles away, yet town leaders in Sykesville, Maryland, population 4,400, want each of them to be prepared should it happen here.

"l learned so many little tips like looking for exits, tourniquets, things that are quick, on the fly things that you can apply in your daily life," said Sykesville Mayor Ian Shaw.
    
Civic leaders have already taken what amounts to a shooting survival course offered for free by Maryland State Police, and now they're inviting the public.
    
A training coordinator with the agency, 1st Sgt. Jon Hill, says the key is to avoid, deny and defend. 

"Get away from the situation if you can when it first kicks off,” explained Hill, “If you can't do that, then deny the shooter access to your location by putting physical barriers in between them---locking doors, closing doors, piling up chairs, desks, tables... anything you can find in front of the door to deny access, and then if that doesn't work, you do have the option to defend yourself."
    
The training first grew out of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, and tragically, it has been fine-tuned as similar tragedies unfolded in movie theaters, shopping malls and outdoor events.
    
In light of the Las Vegas mass shooting, the state police are already looking for places to extend the training.

"One of the biggest events that we're involved in as the Maryland State Police is the State Police Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics and I've been in contact with the executives there to say let's work on this training,” said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police, “and they're excited to do that with their staff, because we have thousands of people in a large gathering."
    
It's an event, which averages more people each year than all of those living in Sykesville, yet anyone could become a target.

"I'm sure there's still many out here that think it can't happen in a small town like ours,” said Sykesville Police Chief Mike Spaulding, “but we're trying to change that mentality by showing them that it can."

That training session tomorrow night runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department on Sykesville Road.

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