Law enforcement professionals from throughout New Jersey visited Manchester last week for an important active school shooter training course that could help to save lives in an emergency situation.
ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training, which focuses on giving students and staff more options than the traditional lockdown — a technique that historically has proven to be ineffective as it creates stationary targets for shooters — was presented during the two-day course held at Manchester Township Police headquarters and Manchester Township High School.
Among those at the training were Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski and Detective Sergeant James Sharkey of the Manchester Township Police. In addition to a detailed ALICE lesson on July 22, trainees also participated in practical exercises at the high school on July 23.
Chief Klimakowski is a proponent of the ALICE method, as it increases survival rates during an active shooter situation by empowering students and staff to be proactive, rather than hunkering in place during a dangerous situation while awaiting the arrival of police.
“A substantial amount of research shows that if students and staff can evacuate from their building, that’s the course of action they should take during an active shooter situation,” said Chief Klimakowski. “We want to provide students and faculty with options to ensure that, if an incident ever does happen, we can minimize the loss of lives.”
The ALICE guidelines are similar to the Run, Hide, Fight recommendation used by federal law enforcement including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Though not a statewide standard in New Jersey, Chief Klimakowski, a subject matter expert in the area of school safety who also regularly teaches about the subject, believes the ALICE guidelines should be adopted.
Chief Klimakowski works closely with Manchester School District administrators to bring the recommended best practices to all township schools. Additionally, in an effort to prevent violent incidents at schools within Manchester, education and police administrators recently conducted security and safety assessments at each township school.
Residents are invited to learn more about school safety in Manchester during a Public Safety Series presentation beginning 6 p.m. on Aug. 11 at the township’s Ocean County Library branch, 21 Colonial Drive. More information is available at www.theoceancountylibrary.org. Chief Klimakowski actively shares critical information on the subject through his Twitter account, ManchesterPDNJ.