VBSO to host active shooter response training for local church
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Deputies from the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office will teach a “Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events” (CRASE) class on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, at 10 a.m. for members of the congregation of Asbury Christian Fellowship Church. This event is not open to the public, but members of the news media are welcome to attend.
In response to numerous church shootings that have happened in the United States during the past decade, including recently in Ames, Iowa, and Laguna Woods, Calif., the Sheriff’s Office is offering the free class to educate and empower churchgoers to protect themselves and the people around them in a worst-case scenario.
“Church should be a sanctuary, but recent events have shown that our places of worship can be targeted by people with evil intent, and we want our congregations to be prepared to protect themselves if the unthinkable occurs,” said Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle. “While we hope they never have to use this training, we are proud to give them the tools to react if an active-shooter shows up during a service.”
Lt. Nick Curtis, Sgt. Nicholas Davison, Sgt. Demetrius Taylor and Sgt. David Wilkes are certified to teach CRASE through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University. The curriculum is based on the FBI’s “Run, Hide, Fight” model and teaches people to “Avoid, Deny, Defend.” The deputies will demonstrate each of the steps and lead the students in a hands-on exercise.
The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office has previously taught active-shooter response to staff at the Virginia Beach Courthouse and members of the news media; however, this will be the first CRASE class taught by the VBSO. More than 200,000 civilians have completed the CRASE training nationwide.
“I am proud of my deputies for taking the initiative to learn this material and share their knowledge with the public,” said Sheriff Stolle. “There is nothing more important than the safety of our community, and this curriculum will make people safer at church, at home and anywhere else they may go.”
Asbury Christian Fellowship Church is located at 1392 Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach. The class will include Pastor Calvin Smith and Trustees Fay Allen and Chasta Mangum, who is a VBSO investigator and former VBSO deputy.
Mangum came up with the idea to invite the VBSO to her church.
“This world is changing so fast, and I wanted my church to know how to protect themselves from an active shooter if they were ever in this situation,” Mangum said. “I thought about how my Sheriff’s Office could help me to help the local churches to have some type of knowledge of how to handle an active-shooter. Kudos to Sheriff Stolle, the administration and training division for helping to make my vision come true.”
Any questions or requests for additional information from the news media may be directed to Toni Guagenti, Civilian Public Information Officer, at email@example.com or 757-373-5012.
For more information about ALERRT, or to request a class, visit alerrt.org.