Inside the auditorium on the campus of Fort Lauderdale High School a group of concerned citizens assembled to learn how to survive an actor shooter situation.
Deputy Arik Levy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office briefed the public on correct steps to take during an active shooter situation. The alarming number of incidents involving gun violence prompted the Sheriff’s Office to offer a two-hour program Tuesday evening. Around 200 people attended the program.
Stopping lone wolf terrorists is a constant struggle, law enforcement officials admit, but there are effective measures.
“What we can do is mitigate,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
Israel spoke about the recent killings of seven police officers in Dallas, describing it as “one of the darkest days in American history.” The Sheriff also encouraged gun owners to “have self discipline and to be the most responsible gun owner you can be.”
And in the wake of another questionable shooting in North Miami, where police shot an autistic man’s caregiver in the leg, Sheriff Israel admitted there are problems in the blue line.
“Police officers make mistakes,” Israel said. “But, we can’t let deplorable acts of a few police officers define how we think about law enforcement.”
Before turning the program over to Levy, Israel informed the audience his agency has a seat at the National Operations Center in Washington, D.C. A representative spends 30 days a month in the District of Columbia monitoring bad guys, said Israel.
“Presently, there is no known threat to South Florida and that’s a good thing,” Israel said.
Following Israel’s remarks, Levy explained the basics. An active shooter situation, Levy said, is where one or more suspects kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. This was certainly the case last month in Orlando, where 49 people were gunned down at a gay nightclub.
The vast majority of the perpetrators of these shootings are suffering from mental illness, Levy said. Their condition, he said, was once referred to as “going postal.”
The three golden rules of an active shooter situation, Levy said, are: 1. Run. 2. Hide. 3. Fight.
“You do what you have to do to survive and win,” Levy said.
The program featured clips from the Hollywood film “Runaway Jury” as well as an educational video produced by the Los Angeles, California Sheriff’s Office. Levy encouraged citizens to not become too self absorbed with smartphones and be aware of their surroundings. If gunfire erupts, taking cover behind cars is a good defense.
“Leave your work behind,” Levy said. “That stuff is replaceable. Your life isn’t.”
During the question and answer session, one man said there is a Fort Lauderdale bar that lacks proper exits. The man, who declined to be identified when approached by SFGN, said he’s felt fear when entering some nightclubs.
“Ever since Orlando, I look at things differently,” he said. “I was in this club just the other night and was overcome by a feeling that there is no way to get out. I fear something will happen sooner or later and it deeply saddens me.”
When pressed to reveal the club and his name, the man declined.
Meanwhile, Levy said citizens should trust their instincts.
“Look people in the eye, bad guys don’t like that,” he said.