FLINT TWP. — From schools, to malls, to churches, theaters, restaurants, outdoor concerts and other public places, as frequent national headlines have shown, there is no way of knowing when and where an active shooter situation will surface again.
The Flint Township Police Department is actively engaged in an effort to train the local public how to better protect itself by using A.L.I.C.E. training. ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate – a procedural guideline being used by police departments nationwide.
Township police ALICE trainers recently worked with security officers at Genesee Valley Center mall on ways to respond to an active intruder or assailant situation, said Police Chief Kevin Salter.
Police also are in the process of coordinating training for staff at Carman- Ainsworth Schools when school resumes in August, he said. Police have previously held active shooter simulations at C-A schools. On their own, school staff already are conducting lockdown drills four times a year.
The plan in August is to bring all staff into the high school to conduct an active shooter drill, said Trustee Tom Klee, who also teaches at the high school. Staff members will act as students to make the classroom simulation as realistic as possible, he said.
Klee praised the intensity of ALICE training as “pretty amazing.”
Noting that some township residents reside in the Flushing or Swartz Creek school districts, Township Supervisor Karyn Miller asked Chief Salter if training plans could include them.
Township Clerk Kathy Funk added that staff in the township administration building have all gone through ALICE training.
Earlier this year, township police ALICE instructors also held several free trainings for churches.
Chief Salter said their trainers teach that ALICE does not have to go in exact order. Evacuation, if possible, is preferable before lockdown, he said. But if safety is an issue, trainees are taught how to secure a room, Inform authorities by calling 911 and if necessary to use Counter attacks which can be as simple as lots of people throwing books at the assailant.
“We don’t want people to just sit there, we want them to do something,” Chief Salter said. “It is really good training for everyone involved in it.”