DES MOINES, IOWA — An active threat can take place anywhere, anytime and Polk County Emergency Management is educating those who want to know how to act and react in these situations.
Over the lunch hour on Tuesday, emergency management hosted a seminar on active threat preparedness. Polk County Emergency Management Deputy Director Dutch Geisinger and West Des Moines Police Chief Chris Scott led the presentation.
Among those in attendance were business leaders, organizations and school districts.
“Who here has heard of Run, Fight, Hide?,” said Geisinger as the majority of the audience raised their hand. A lot of people know of the ‘run, fight, hide’ phrase and of emergency action plans. Scott and Geisinger both touched on these topics, but a majority of the presentation was centered around reporting.
“I think we are not asking people to be trained in a sense of paranoia,” said Chief Scott. “We are just asking people to be trained in a sense of alertness, what is occurring around me right now?”
During the presentation a list appeared of mass shootings since May 6, 2022 to June 6, 2022. During that time span there was 69 mass shootings, 94 killed and 332 injured. Geisinger and Scott both want the public to be trained to recognize abnormal behavior so law enforcement entities can intervene before an active event happens.
“We all recognize weird, in a lot of these shootings and cases we have had around the country when they talked to people they found this to be odd but didn’t feel it was reportable,” said Chief Scott. “And so I think a lot of people are recognizing that we need to recognize them more.”
There are no repercussions for reporting people, as law enforcement entities would rather check out a false flag rather than there not be a report at all.
Scott and Geisinger also both hit on school districts and how they have emergency action plans. What they want to see districts do now to take that next step for their safety, is active shooter drills.
“So the next step is making sure that we’re following through with the training, we can’t just build those plans and set them on a shelf, that’s not effective,” said Geisinger. “So keeping those things evergreen and making sure that we are training on them.”
A recording of the presentation can be found on the Polk County Emergency Management’s website along with the slides and resources to help inform the public.