St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann wants residents to know that all officers in the county are ready should an active shooter incident occur in one of our communities. All officers and law enforcement agencies in the county have been trained in Multi-Assault, Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities, or MACTAC, a program that is used throughout the country.
“After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, we found that, while law enforcement, schools and mental health personnel had talked about what they would do in such instances, they hadn’t talked with each other,” Ehlmann says. “So, we brought them together, had a great dialog, and the Sheriff’s Department began coordinating MACTAC training for all law enforcement agencies in the county.”
St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz says selected individuals from every agency in St. Charles County went through instructor training first and then those 25 began training every officer – more than 650 – in the county. While the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team often assists in these types of incidents, it was found that in the case of an active shooter, SWAT Teams are often too late to be effective. Training all officers ensures that any first responding officer knows how to react to the situation.
“MACTAC is a rigorous training,” Chief Frisz says. “We place trainees in a variety of scenarios and make it as real as possible to make certain we can stop an active shooter in any situation. For officers, it’s a reality of our job and why we serve to protect the public, but for civilians, it’s something they need to be prepared for and to think about. We want to equip them with as many tools as we can to help save their lives and the lives of those around them and in their care.”
Officers receive 10 hours of intense training with MACTAC, keeping in mind that incidents are spontaneous and that suspects are unpredictable and heavily armed. They also are reminded that incidents occur in large environments where there are numerous people who have no way of defending themselves. The training is recurring with full training sessions and refreshers available throughout the year.
“Before MACTAC training, police were not sufficiently trained to handle these situations,” says St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz. “Now they are. We’re all on the same page.”
Chief Frisz says it is also important to make certain citizens receive active shooter training. His staff has focused on teachers and other school employees, as well as employees at non-profit organizations. They receive four hours of 4E School Training: Educate, Escape, Evade and Engage – or Run, Hide, Fight. County employees also were offered the training.