During an active shooter situation, keeping the public involved as calm and under control as possible can lead to a better outcome for the safety of both officers and the public. As an officer, try to take the following steps when dealing with potential victims in the area:
- Encourage them to remain calm – reinforce that enthusiastic movements and significant noise might just aggravate the shooter. While this may seem like an obvious tip, the simple reminder can really help people maintain control of themselves.
- Outline an evacuation plan – if you have the opportunity to speak with any of the civilians in the area who are trapped, discuss an evacuation plan in case there is an appropriate time. Giving them this information in advance will help minimize the panic when it becomes time for them to start moving.
- Discourage the use of weapons or violence – often civilians are tempted to step in and take control of a situation using force. Remind them that the police force has the situation under control so they step back and let the professionals do their jobs.