Written by John Face
Photos by John Face
June 2, 2022
Over the last few weeks this writer has been approached by several people about what happens in Albion during active shooter calls such as occurred in Texas. I reached out to Chief Scott Kipp, the Director of Albion Department of Public Safety (ADPS) in Albion. This morning we sat down to have a frank discussion about exactly where things in Albion stand.
When asked what exactly the training for his officers is for active shooters, Chief Kipp said that all officers receive such training in the police academy. The department has regular training for all officers as well. Chief Kipp admitted they need to do more training locally and regionally. They do inhouse training all the time he said but “hands on in the field training is so important”.
The department policy is much the same as nationally, at all costs get to the shooter and control the situation, shooting them if necessary, waiting for no one else. Chief Kipp was very frank with me. He said, “just because there is a policy that says to do something, the hard reality is no officer knows how they will react in this situation until they are in it”. Though he is certain his officers will engage the shooter he did say, “we are human too, people forget that sometimes”.
He said that Albion does have a strong relationship with all the area police departments. Though the initial attack will be his officers it will not take long for more help to arrive. He said that situation has happened in Albion in the past needing help and his officers have responded all over the area for requests of emergency help to other officers as well.
He said that they do have officers from the department who are part of the Calhoun County Emergency Response Team, or ERT. This unit is trained for all situations from active shooter, hostage rescue to warrant serving for drug busts. He currently has 3 officers’ part of this team plus several others who have been in the ERT or been trained in the past.
We discussed what tools are available to officers on his department. He said all officers carry their revolver, have shotguns in their cars. Some he said participated in a program that allowed them to purchase AR style weapons for themselves that they are allowed to use while on duty. This was done mostly because the department can’t afford to purchase these weapons for officers. He stated that they have “level 4” type armor which gives protection from rifle fire.
He also explained that they do have some breaching equipment. City Watch will not share the specific tools, but they carry them in the cars. He did remind this writer that sometimes that is not enough. “Remember”, he said, “those doors at the high school are thick and are attached to steel frames and are difficult to breach”.
We talked about specific targets in Albion and yes, the public schools and college are certainly on his and officers’ minds. “These are targets that are obvious, and we all take them seriously” he said. We need to stress that these targets need to be “hardened”, which means taking steps to make it more difficult for a shooter. Again, he stressed the need for more training in the field.
I asked Chief Kipp what people can do to help his officers out. His advice was fairly simple, stating “if you see something, someone that doesn’t fit the situation call 911 and ask for an officer to check it out’. You the public, “knows your neighborhood better than anyone else. Call us”. My officers are trained to engage people to see if there are any issues.
I asked what the public should do if they are suddenly in a situation that involves an active shooter. He said the options are run, hide or fight. If you can run, get out of their as fast as possible. If running is not a safe option, then hide is next. Hide in another room, behind things. The last one is what he said is the toughest, it is fight. He said if you have no choice and attacking the shooter is your option you better be “committed to fighting and hurting the shooter”. He said find a weapon of any type. Fire extinguishers are very good tools. Spraying the chemical at the shooter blinds them and is a hard tool to strike them with. He said believe it or not getting online to see what you can do is an option. Be prepared before anything happens. Have your plan.
I asked the chief if he supports any type of gun controls. He said he understood the 2nd amendment people but the reality is there are people who should not have weapons of any kind. “A few years ago,” he said, “we had a situation where someone who has serious mental health issues and was in crisis was in possession of weapons. Not only that but licensed to carry. We desperately tried to have this person seperated from these weapons but there is no law giving us that authority”.
He vigorously supports “Red Flag Laws”. These are laws that allow law enforcement the ability to remove weapons from an individual that may be a danger to themselves or others. When weapons are removed the issue goes to the courts and mental health professionals to determine if there is a threat. “They are using this Law in Florida” he said, “and are removing weapons daily saving lives”.
My suggestion to the reader is whether we want to accept it or not, we may be a target and need to think about that before we go out. Don’t forget run, hide or fight.
Have your plan.