Frontline police officers need new strategies and more intensive training to prepare for the possibility of mass shootings, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. With the number of incidents on the rise, local police departments can no longer rely solely on elite forces like local SWAT teams to respond to such high-pressure scenes, Holder said. “To save lives, the first officers to arrive must sometimes be the ones to directly engage an active shooter. That’s why all law enforcement must have the best equipment and most up-to-date training to confront these situations,” he said.
Holder said the annual number of mass-shooting incidents nationwide has tripled over the last four years, from an average of five a year before 2009 to about 15 a year since. His agency has trained 50,000 frontline officers and more than 3,000 local agency heads on how to respond to shooters, he said. Despite his pledge of continued support for local law enforcement, not all at the IACP welcomed the attorney general’s pledges. At the back of the hall, a handful of uniformed officers could be heard grumbling, “Three more years of this?”