SEATTLE — The massacre in Las Vegas has prompted a lot of questions about security and prevention, and King County Sheriff John Urquhart had an unsettling reaction, realizing how vulnerable Seattle is.
He says his force needs to adapt quickly.
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Sheriff's deputies and police officers from numerous agencies have trained extensively on shootings at large gatherings such as Bumbershoot, Fourth of July at Gasworks Park, sporting events and others.
But all the training scenarios have been with a shooter on the ground, among the crowd.
They train for those just like an office or school shooting, but they have not trained for a shooter firing from hundreds of feet up, like the shooter in Las Vegas.
And that's a major gap.
That's why he says the massacre was a game-changer and wakeup call for law enforcement in the Northwest because there are tall buildings that loom over CenturyLink Field and big public events.
“That’s something we haven’t trained for. We haven’t trained for it, we haven’t seen it. What are we going to do now? That’s the problem,” Urquhart says.
Urquhart says law enforcement will have to adapt, study the scenario and add training. Hotel staffs could be trained to spot weapons and red flags among their guests.
“Now you've got a situation where you could have someone in a high rise that you can never get to. That you could never know is there. This guy was in that hotel room since the 28th? And brought a tremendous amount of firepower in there, undetected. It's a game changer,” Urquhart says.
Urquhart says airport-like security can keep guns out of many crowded places, but law enforcement and the public now have to consider a long-distance attack as well.
The sheriff says it's now extremely important for people going to events in Seattle to consider how to survive if the unthinkable happens.
“If something happens, how do I get out without running the way that I came in, because that’s probably the way the bad guy came in,” said Urquhart.
The sheriff says the Vegas tragedy will inform all the public event trainings deputies do from now on, including a possible re-examination of training for big game days here.
Cox Media Group