Friday Jewish organizations, agencies and others participated in an active shooter workshop put on by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City helped to organize the workshop that was hosted by the Jewish Community Campus.
"This training was initiated by DHS as a response to the shootings outside of the campus," said Todd Stettner, federation president and CEO in a news release. "The purpose is to make all our institutions, including those participating from the general community, have a higher level of awareness and preparedness."
The community is still healing after a gunman shot and killed a grandfather and his grandson and another woman at a nearby senior care center.
On April 13 in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, prosecutors say 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross killed 69-year-old William Corporon, 69, and his grandson, 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood.
Prosecutors said Cross then went to the nearby Village Shalom senior care facility and killed 53-year-old Terri LaManno who was there to visit her mother.
The workshop is one of a number of steps that have been taken to enhance security at the campus following the April shootings and leaders say they want to take action quickly to better prepare them if another attacker should strike again.
"We are here today to try to take a tremendous negative and try to create a positive," said Gregory Wolf, the president of the Jewish Community Campus board.
The Jewish Community Campus organized the free training session offered to 150 business and church leaders ready to learn from Homeland Security experts.
The workshop included presentations from DHS experts and a spokesperson for the Overland Park Police Department as well as a video showing techniques to protect patrons and employees if an active shooter walked in.
Click here to watch a video from Homeland Security on active shooter training.
The training focused on three key points when there's an intruder. First, run to the nearest exit, don't wait for help to arrive. Second, if that's not possible, find a good place to hide, possibly in a closet or under a desk. Third, if someone comes face-to-face with a shooter, find something to use to fight back.
"There is no simple answer, there's no one-size-fits-all and so every situation is a little bit different," Stettner said.
Stettner said Homeland Security has helped them identify weaknesses within their building, but he said the most important thing he has learned is to train and re-train employees on a regular basis.
"There is always turn over of staff, there's always new people. I think that's really the key is this constant training so that everyone knows their role and what they are supposed to do. I think that's really important and that's been really strongly reinforced," he said.
Chris Barr with Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, KS, was one of the 150 participants who attended the training.
"Basically, first response is important. We hope to learn the crucial first steps to minimize if something tragic were to happen, we want to minimize the impact," Barr said. "The training is necessary because in today's world it has become a reality. People have access to guns like they haven't before and this kind of training is vital when dealing with large groups of people."
More changes include an armed presence during the majority of operating hours, hiring a security director and conducting a security readiness assessment of the center. The Jewish Community Center campus has also added a new alert system on cell phone to get the word out about danger.
"You can see how quickly the text came through. It said, ‘Problem, potentially dangerous situation developing. Send help to this location.' And it gave me this location," said Jill Campbell who created the app.
Campbell said now, with the push of a button, they can call 911 while instantly sending a text message to key staff, security and law enforcement about the danger.
"As we walk through this, the day the shooter was here, he was at this facility first. When they hit 911, had it gone out so that Village Shalom got it and knew there was an active shooter here, they would have locked down their facility. Now would that have saved a life, we don't know. But having that knowledge at that moment would have given them a heads up to start doing things they didn't know to do," she said.
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