About 30 law enforcement officers from around the state are taking part in the FBI sponsored ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) training this week. The instructional course teaches local and state officers how to respond to active shooters. 

"It's training that we try to host on a yearly, semi-annual basis," FBI special agent in charge of Alaska Marlin Ritzman said. "It's really at the request of local and state law enforcement on how often they would like to receive the training."

The training had nothing to do with Florida's active shooter and the timing of both events was a mere coincidence.

"We started out training on Monday," Ritzman said. "The shootings are very alarming and unfortunately, it seems more and more of it is happening. So, it reiterates the importance of this training so that our local law enforcement community can handle a situation is God forbid something like that would happen in our community."

Throughout the week-long instructional program, first responders are introduced to a variety of scenarios.

"The scenarios are basically the active shooter type scenarios," ALERRT Instructor John Dombrowa said. "Basically a homicide in progress type of scene. They are not all that, some of them are barricaded suspect types scenes."

Each situation presents a different procedure.

"A part of the time, the officers are role players," Dombrowa said. "You can learn a lot there because you see the situation differently than the responding officer."

Often times, officers who are the first to arrive at the scene do not work in the same department or office.

"One of the best preparedness that this training offers is it puts everybody whether you're local, state or federal law enforcement, sort of on the same page," Ritzman said. "So when individuals show up at a scene, say two first responders, that may be the first time they meet each other. If they both have been through this training, they have the confidence to make the entry into this crisis, head to whatever the threat is and hopefully eliminate that threat."

ALERRT's main focus is to stop the killing.

"After that, we may have an immediate medical situation," Dombrowa said. "Getting people aid and to medical facilities. All of that is part of the training."

The FBI partnered with Texas State University in 2013 to provide the training which is offered all across the country in an effort to help provide a unified response with tactics and techniques to use in an active shooter situation and any other first responder incident.

"We learn from our mistakes," Ritzman said. "We take the best practices, we take lessons learned from other events and we grow on what we've learned. We feel the training is very substantial. That active shooter can obviously happen anywhere whether it is a business, a school or a place of worship. Some active shooter situations may include some explosive device. I believe the local, state and federal agencies in Alaska are well prepared."

The five state agencies participating are the Anchorage and Kenai police departments, airport police, state troopers and the FBI.

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