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Press Release

Department of Justice Announces New Active Shooter Training Grant for First Responders

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio, Director Phil Keith of the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), and Dr. Pete Blair, Executive Director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University today announced an $8.7 million grant to provide multi-disciplinary, scenario-based active shooter training to first responders across the country.

Today’s announcement took place during the ALERRT Active Shooter Integrated Response Conference, where emergency personnel heard from subject matter experts on best practices and lessons learned from some of the nation’s most tragic and horrific mass casualty events.  ALERRT is part of Texas State University, which has trained approximately 130,000 first responders since its inception in 2002.

“Training for first responders to take swift and effective action in active shooting situations is critically important,” said Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “We can mitigate the loss of life in these horrific incidents by providing resources to better equip first responders and prepare community members, local law enforcement, and local government leaders. The Department of Justice fully supports the brave first responders who risk their own lives to protect the safety of our children, colleagues, and community members.”

“The funding announced here today comes at a critical time for our country,” said COPS Office Director Keith.  “As the demands placed on our nation’s first responders continue to grow with these violent mass casualty incidents, I believe it is our responsibility to make sure they have the tools, resources and training to properly respond to these attacks.”  

“This COPS funding will allow ALERRT to provide the training needed to prepare police, fire, and EMS services across the country to save as many lives as possible when these horrific attacks occur,” said Dr. Pete Blair, Executive Director of the ALERRT Center at Texas State University.

Physician stakeholders working in the fields of emergency medicine, trauma surgery, anesthesia, blood bank, critical care and blood collection center directors will join law enforcement, fire services, EMS, emergency communications and emergency management for the first time during this year’s ALERRT conference.  ALERRT’s multi-disciplinary approach is recognized as one of the nation’s leading training models, and the Department of Justice is pleased to announce additional funding for this effort.   

The 2018 investment from the Department of Justice for ALERRT will provide in-person training to an estimated 15,000 first responders, in addition to the 9,000 individuals that received the training in 2017.  ALERRT and the COPS Office are currently developing an online civilian training program, which will reach tens of thousands of citizens – helping to prepare them to take effective actions if they should find themselves in an attack.  

The ALERRT Center at Texas State University was created as a partnership between Texas State University, the San Marcos (TX) Police Department, and the Hays County (TX) Sheriff’s Office to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders.  In 2013, ALERRT was named the National Standard in Active Shooter Response Training by the FBI.

The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing officers, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement.  Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.

Updated November 1, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-1433