Police Chief Talks Training, Preparedness, Survival

Police Chief Joe Ortiz

South Pasadena Police Chief Joe Ortiz, asked for his thoughts about the recent mass shootings around the country, chose not to get into larger political issues such as gun laws.

Instead, in an email reply to the Review, Ortiz made points about “situational awareness” and increasing odds of survival in the event of an attack. Here are his thoughts:     

“Risk Manager Gordon Graham has a powerful message that has always resonated with me: ‘Nearly every bad outcome is predictable and thus preventable.’

“As a law-enforcement professional, we all understand survival and perhaps have had to fight for our lives. The same tragic episode, with mass loss of life, continues to rear its ugly head across the world. The same story repeats itself when one or more deranged gunmen selfishly attack and murder innocent bystanders at a public event, providing no warning whatsoever. This story is the ‘predictable’ part of this quote. History sadly continues to validate this statement, time and time again.

“Fear can be a great motivator but paralyzes some; not an option in an active shooter incident. Training our communities is the answer to prevent and minimize the loss.

“According to Hank Kula, author with L-Tron Corporation, ‘Active shooter incidents typically last 10-15 minutes. Civilians may be the only aid before first responders get there. Pre-staged medical equipment and trained personnel within a scene have proven effective. Survivability increases with resistance, distraction and fighting. Survivability decreases by cowering, hiding and doing nothing.

“The South Pasadena Police Department continues to provide specialized training on how to protect against common vulnerabilities. The department remains engaged with our residents, business owners and faith-based communities to provide them the importance of having situational awareness to reduce the losses to active shooters.  

“With an Active Shooter Situation, remember you can RUN (have an escape route in mind); HIDE in an area out of the shooter’s view (and) block entry to your hiding place; or FIGHT, as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.’’