Police host response training for citizens

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Police hosted two training sessions for the public Saturday to teach people how to respond to an active shooter or violent intruder.

Lessons included the process of planning for and reacting to an armed intruder, and the decisions people may have to make in a crisis where they and those around them may be a target.

"Just because we might be unarmed, does not mean we're defenseless," Officer Jeff Forck said. "There are things we can do."

A question that often arises after mass shootings is what may have happened if someone in the crowd had a gun.

"Carrying a concealed weapon in that environment is a personal decision that each individual person has to be able to make, but it's not the end all solution," Forck said.

CPD said it had received several requests for the training over the past few months.

About 130 people went to the session at the CPD Regional Training Center.

Helen Humphries, a restaurant hostess and massage therapist, said she went so she could be ready if trouble happened.

"Be prepared, but don't live scared," Humphries said. "I like to live being prepared for anything that might happen and to know practical information on how to respond to certain situations."

According to the FBI, an estimated 1,248,185 violent crimes happened nationwide in 2016.