The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has released a video that instructs people on what to do in the event of a shooting like the one at an elementary school in Connecticut.
Gov. Robert Bentley asked Alabama Homeland Security officials to develop a strategic plan for dealing with such incidents after a gunman killed 20 students and six adults Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The shooter also killed himself.
The release of the video comes as Alabama officials seek ways to prevent similar incidents.
A state legislator, Rep. Kerry Rich o Albertville, said he is working on legislation that would allow schools to arm some teachers or other employees. The workers to be armed would be chosen by the system’s superintendent. Also, state officials have scheduled a meeting for Jan. 9 in Montgomery for legislators, law enforcement and education officials to discuss possible ways to prevent such shootings.
A spokesman for the governor, Jeremy King, said the video was originally produced by the Houston Police Department. It was released in Alabama with a short introduction by state Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier.
The video depicts a shooting inside an office.
Other measures taken include additional training for law enforcement and continued use of a hotline and website where citizens can report suspicious people or situations.
Collier said it cost less than $5,000 to add the introduction, edit the video to make it compatible for an Alabama audience and distribute it. That expenditure was approved by the Legislature’s Contract Review Committee, said Collier, a former House member from Mobile County and an ex-state trooper.
“I encourage you to be prepared,” Collier said in his introduction. In the video, a man, dressed in black shoots several workers as he casually strolls through the crowded office. The narrator offers several pieces of advice, including:
• “Encourage others to leave with you, but don’t let them get in your way.”
• “Remember what’s important is not your stuff. Leave your belongings behind.”
• “Your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan.”
The video was made before the Connecticut shootings. Collier said it was originally scheduled to be distributed in January but that was moved up because of the shooting at the elementary school.
Collier said the video will be offered for training purposes to law enforcement agencies. It will also be used to help train education officials and private employers.
He said Homeland Security officials have found the best course of action is to offer training to a few selected individuals and then let them train others. Collier said his department would work with education officials to make sure the video matches safety plans already in existence for schools.
The hotline for reporting a suspected shooter is 1-866-229-6220.
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