Larry Jacobs

Recent tragedies such as the mass shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., raise serious questions. How do we prevent such a tragedy? Also, how should we respond if we found ourselves in a similar situation?

An “active shooter” is police jargon for an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and other populated area. In most cases, “active shooters” use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

“Active shooter” situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.

The city of Houston, Texas, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, prepared a video offering advice on how to respond in the case of a workplace shooting. This 6-minute video, called “Survival Guide. Run. Hide. Fight,” provides common-sense information that could very well save lives in such an incident.

You can view it at

This excellent video has been approved by law enforcement agencies all over the country, including the Sandy Springs Police Department.

Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a free online course at . Titled “Active Shooter:  What You Can Do,” the course should take less than 45 minutes.

Upon completing it, you will be able to:

  1. Describe actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and responding law enforcement officials.
  2. Recognize potential workplace violence indicators.
  3. Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents.
  4. Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department.  He can be reached at

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.