The tragic events which occurred last week in Connecticut remind us that acts of violence can happen anywhere. Mass shooting incidents have occurred within shopping centers, houses of worship, movie theaters, colleges, high schools, and now at an elementary school. Any location, where there are gatherings of people, create an opportunity for such acts to occur. Our own community was victimized by a mass shooting incident this year, as a result of a domestic violence situation, within a home.
The Gilbert Police Department works closely with our school systems, the fire department and EMS to train and prepare for acts of violence or other unusual circumstances, which may occur on our school campuses, with the hope that we will never need to put our plans and training to use. Our public safety personnel and school staffs are well prepared for any such occurrence.
Shortly after being notified of the incident in Connecticut, Gilbert police officers increased their presence around private and public school facilities. We maintained contact with the East Valley Fusion Center in order to maintain situational awareness on any local potential threats. There was no information to indicate that there were any local or regional threats to our school systems or other locations.
The violent crime rate in Gilbert remains very low, and we cannot allow acts of violence to impact our quality of life. At the same time, we cannot afford to be complacent. Always be aware of your surroundings and have a plan to safeguard yourself, your family and your co-workers. Your plan should follow the philosophy of run, hide, fight. Flee the area if it is safe to do so. If you cannot safely flee, conceal yourself and others around you, in a secure location. As a last resort, fight back to protect yourself and others. Once law enforcement arrives, follow the directions of law enforcement officers. Additional information on this topic and a video can be found at http://www.in.gov/iifc/2395.htm