Workshop to teach residents how to survive an active-shooter situation
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
In light of all the mass shootings that have occurred and continue to occur across the country, local organizations are thinking of ways to keep area residents safe.
A “Surviving an Active Shooter” training workshop that focuses on the principles of “run, hide and fight’’ will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 508 George W. Engram Blvd., Daytona Beach.
The free event is being spearheaded by the Volusia County/Daytona Beach NAACP in partnership with the church. The Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) also is a sponsor.
‘You never know’
“We’ve been working on this for a long time, particularly with the church in regards to mass shootings. You never know where you are going to be. We thought that this was overdue,” Cynthia Slater, president of the local NAACP branch, told the Daytona Times. “The police do a lot of workshops, but many of the residents can’t get out to the police station so we decided to do one here in the middle of the community. The situation isn’t getting better and we must get prepared.’’
The Rev. Nathan Mugala, pastor of Allen Chapel noted, “We are doing this for the entire community. It’s important to that we just get our people prepared just in case. Thank God nothing has ever happened in the Daytona Beach community.”
DBPD will conduct the training at the church.
“We are just teaching people what they can do if this situation arises, God forbid.
We give basic tips on what people can do to avoid being victims. It’s just basic knowledge in these situations – mainly how to protect themselves,” related Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri.
For the DBPD, the workshop is just part of the many public safety and community outreach programs that they offer.
The department also holds women’s self-defense classes, a bike ride with kids, shop with a cop during the holidays, holiday food giveaways, a youth fishing tournament and more.
Capri emphasized, “We are just able to work with the community to get things done. We get a lot done and we enjoy doing it. We enjoy helping. We do whatever we can to help the community and the people we serve.”
‘We work together’
The police department touts its relationship with the community and have made community outreach a top priority.
Capri told the Times, “Pastor Mugala is great. I attend his church when I’m not at mine. Cynthia Slater is great. She cares about the community. I call her whenever there is a situation. We are a team with all the churches, police, NAACP and other organizations and businesses.
“We all want equality, equal treatment and a safe community. We don’t want anybody profiled or harassed. We work hand in hand with everyone. We have a powerful city. We don’t have the problems as other cities. We work together. We are very transparent. I’m proud of our relationship with the community. The community is our family.”
A critical event
On Tuesday a police officer subdued and killed 17-year old Austin Wyatt Rollins after he shot two students at Great Mills High School in Maryland.
The tragedy prompted memories of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland as well as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Organizers of the Daytona workshop believe this workshop is critical to bring awareness and safety measures that could possibly save lives in such encounters.
“It’s critical with what is happening across the country today. These thing happen quick, mostly undetected and at places and venues where there are a lot of people,” Capri explained.
“We owe it to our community to let them know that these things can happen and to get them prepared on how to handle them. It starts with trust and communication.’’
Slater added, “We must look at how people view guns in this country. The U.S. has more mass shootings than any developed country. That says a lot of how people value lives and guns. The tragic events are plenty. Better to be alert and prepared not paranoid in case something happens. This is a community effort.”
Despite such programs, classes and training sessions as well as current and proposed gun laws, there is nothing that can totally prevent gun violence or mass shootings.
“As the saying goes, ‘When you see, something say something.’ That goes along way. We must be forever watchful of suspicious activity. We must be prepared to protect ourselves and know how to respond,” Slater continued.
Capri echoed, “These events happened fast. They are tragic and very unfortunate. Law enforcement can only react so fast. We train for all situations. We just have to teach people how to protect themselves. School shootings are unfortunate. The DBPD has officers in every school under our jurisdiction.”