Bothell-Kenmore Reporter June 14-27 2006

Dealing with a rampage By Josh Hicks

Acts of terror can range from shooting sprees to bombings. Regardless of their nature, all attacks are difficult to stop. "If someone wants to kill other people and is willing to sacrifice himself, it's probably going to happen" said Nick Minzghor, a special-operations officer with the Kenmore Police Department. "If he doesn't care about his life, it's hard to prevent."

Suicide bombings are especially trick territory. If intelligence fails, schools are left vulnerable. Still, administrators have decided that it's better to rely on intelligence than to barricade schools. "You can have a fortified learning environment with gates, guards and metal detectors, or you can run a school," said Fitzpatrick. "Recent intelligence doesn't justify (fortification). People want their kids' educational experience to be enjoyable.

Still, Fitzpatrick admits that "striking at a rural school would be the ultimate act of defiance for a terrorist." In the case of shooting sprees, police at least have an opportunity to stop the attacker from continuing his or her rampage. Before the Columbine incident, SWAT teams handled such situations. But since it can take up to an hour for a SWAT team to respond to an incident, something more was needed, so law enforcement agencies implemented mandatory Active Shooter and Patrol (ASAP) training for their officers.

Cops with ASAP training can respond to an active shooter before the SWAT team arrives. A team of three to five officer can be geared up and ready to eliminate a threat in as little as seven minutes, according to Minzghor, who runs the rigorous ASAP program for several law enforcement agencies in the Northshore area. Minzghor calls his form of training "stress inoculation" meaning officers train hard and often so they can fight easy. Unlike the officers who initially responded to the Columbine shootings, ASAP squads don't simply contain a threat, they try to eliminate it.

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