Experts in law enforcement training discuss and compare recent active shooter events that have occurred in the United States and Israel. On 20 July 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, a gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing 12 and wounding dozens more. Six weeks later, on October 5, an American tourist in Eilat, Israel, shot and killed a chef in a hotel restaurant during the busy Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Although the top priority for both responses was to save as many lives as possible, differences exist between the way in which Israeli and U.S. responders are trained and prepared for such attacks.
When responding to an active scene, time is of the essence – each minute that passes could result in a greater loss of human life. To address this concern, all Israeli officers and first responders (medics, firefighters, etc.) are prepared and trained both physically and mentally so the first person on the scene is able to react quickly, without having to wait for the “boss” to arrive on the scene. In contrast, the United States lacks a degree of flexibility because critical thinking skills primarily are developed among command staff rather than responders at the street level.
The University of Texas shootings in 1966 inspired the formation of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams. The 1999 high school massacre in Columbine, Colorado, demonstrated that responders may not always have the time to wait for SWAT teams to gear up and move in. And now in 2012, an apartment rigged with explosives across town from the shooting at Aurora’s Century 16 movie theater points out the need for U.S. responders to plan, prepare, and train for multi-prong events.
Glen Rudner is an independent consultant and trainer. A recently retired Northern Virginia Regional Hazardous Materials Officer, he has been heavily involved during the past 35 years in the development, management, and delivery of numerous local, state, federal, and international programs for such organizations as the National Fire Academy, the FBI, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Yisroel Stefansky is Proactive Global Security’s Founder and Director of International Business Development. He has worked with police forces, emergency response teams, and many other first responders in various countries throughout the world as a consultant and response trainer. After finding himself at the site of a violent terror attack in Jerusalem, where he took action and became part of the rescue effort, he founded ZAKA (Zihuy Korbanot Ason) – an organization that recovers body parts for burial whenever and wherever a disaster or terror attack occurs. As a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, he has served as an emergency medical technician, forensics expert, search and rescue, firefighter, private investigator, dive master, and private pilot.
Joseph Trindal is the Managing Director at Defense Group Inc., where he leads the company’s risk management services. He also serves on the Board of Directors at InfraGard Nation’s Capital Member Alliance. Trindal retired in 2008 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he had served as Director for the National Capital Region, Federal Protective Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He previously served, for 20 years, with the U.S. Marshals Service, attaining the position of Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal and Incident Commander of an Emergency Response Team. His is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Glen Rudner retired in 2022 as a manager of environmental operations for the Norfolk Southern (NS) Railway with environmental compliance and operations responsibilities in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Previously, he was the hazardous materials compliance officer for NS’s Alabama Division (covering Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and southwestern Tennessee). Prior to NS, he served as one of the general managers at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colorado. He worked as a private consultant and retired as a hazardous materials response officer for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He has nearly 42 years of experience in public safety. He spent 12 years as a career firefighter/hazardous materials specialist for the City of Alexandria Fire Department, as well as a former volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, and officer. As a subcontractor, he served as a consultant and assisted in developing training programs for local, state, and federal agencies. He serves as secretary for the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Hazardous Materials Committee, a member of the American Society of Testing and Materials, and a former co-chairman of the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition. He served as a member of the FEMA NAC RESPONSE Subcommittee.