Greenwood Detective Jason Grable is sharing a message that you need to hear
By Jeremy Dunn
On any given day, educators are performing balancing acts of monumental proportions. This takes countless hours of evaluating data, determining needs and lesson planning to create engaging and meaningful instruction for a diverse population of students, ranging in a variety of needs. Include the additional hours for professional development and extra-curricular activities and one can begin to realize that teachers are displaying a talent that would amazing the most gifted of jugglers. Beneath it all lies one constant driving force: teachers love their students.
Throughout education, this love for students is continually on display. Each school year hugs are given, tears are wiped and words of encouragement are shared on infinite levels. These meaningful actions prove that protecting students and providing a safe environment is a top priority for teachers. Unfortunately, protecting students is no longer limited to what to do if there is s scrapped knee, bloody nose, or unexpected illness. Educators now must consider how to protect students in the face of growing violent, terrifying and unpredictable threats including active shooters. Teachers that have spent their lives preparing to teach others how to find the answers are now seeking the answer to a very important question: How do we prepare for the unknown? One Greenwood detective may have the answer.
Developing a strategy
Detective Jason Grable shares teachers’ priorities of protecting students and providing a safe environment for learning. A portion of his 21 years with the Greenwood Police Department has included serving as a school resource officer for Greenwood schools. As active shooters and other threats became a growing reality for more schools, workplaces and public areas, Grable had the opportunity to participate in a training geared toward providing law enforcement strategies to rapidly respond to public threats. Appropriately named ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training), the Texas State University program researches active shooter events to help create and establish the best practices for law enforcement and first responders to implement in the face of these growing threats.
During his ALERRT training, Grable was exposed to a variety of recent active shooter situations, including how they were handled and hearing from those that directly dealt with them. “I was impressed by the trainings,” Grable said, highlighting the importance of evaluating previous events to create strategies to improve law enforcement response. “These are constantly evolving trainings. No two active shooter events are alike. We always have to ask how we can get better. I am a student as well and always learning.”
While ALERRT provides law enforcement officers with best practices to respond to threats, it also noted the need for a response protocol for civilians and created CRASE (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) training. Grable was fortunate enough to participate in this and bring it back to Greenwood. “There is not a lot of training for civilians. Based on recent research, this is the best protocol and is specifically geared for civilians,” he said. The Greenwood police detective is now preparing community members to respond to threats such as active shooter events.
CRASE training consists of a 75-minute presentation that outlines research-based strategies for active threat situations. The program focuses on the “Avoid, Deny, Defend” mentality, urging participants to evaluate their options and react accordingly based on a given threat. “Primarily, we want civilians to get out and avoid the threat when at all possible,” Grable said. During the “Avoid” portion of his presentation, he urges participants to attempt to leave the area in danger as soon as possible, be aware of all possible exits and call 911. If avoidance is not possible, individuals should focus on denying an active shooter or threat access to them. This could be accomplished by locking doors, turning out lights, and finding a location out of the view of a threat. If no other options remain, civilians are instructed to be prepared to defend themselves and fight for their lives.
Grable gives high praise to the CRASE protocol. “It gives options,” he said. “This response works with any type of disaster event as well.” However, he feels the training’s greatest strength is the 20-30 minutes of exposure it provides civilians to the psychological responses associated with active shooter events. “It is phenomenal,” Grable said. He went on to stress the importance of understanding the body and mind’s responses to threats so that participants can be prepared if ever faced with an active shooter event.
A growing need
After recent events in Las Vegas and Florida, communities are starting to take note and value the importance of training opportunities such as CRASE. “When I first started, I was teaching this program five or six times a month,” Grable said. “Now, on average, I am sharing these trainings 20 to 25 times a month.” Many Johnson County schools, including all Greenwood community schools, Central Nine Career Center, Clark Pleasant Elementary and middle schools and Greenwood Christian Academy have participated in CRASE training with Grable. Several churches, libraries, and businesses have followed suit and asked for training sessions with the Greenwood detective as well.
The juggling act, driven by a love for their students, continues in classrooms throughout the United States. Teachers will work tirelessly to do what is best for students and provide them with a safe environment to learn. Fortunately, thanks to Grable’s efforts, many Johnson County educators will be better prepared to uphold these expectations and protect the students they love so dearly if ever faced by threat.
For more information on Avoid, Deny, Defend, please visit avoiddenydefend.org.