Active Assailant Training

This evening I was given the opportunity to attend the Sterling Heights Police Department’s Active Assailant Training for Civilians program at St. Blasé Catholic Church on 15 Mile Road via my involvement in the city’s CERT program.  It was three hours of high quality information that your community or church group, fellow employees, and child’s teachers need to see in these uncertain times.

Hosted by the department’s internal training bureau consisting of Sergeant Mark Schmidt, Officer Andy Pawlik and Officer Jassin Hakim, the presentation went into gritty detail about the realities of suddenly being faced by a violent, gun wielding criminal bent on killing as many people as possible. The veteran police officers making the presentation gave solid, actionable strategies for how you should react to that situation.  Using recent news events — including things that happened this very week — as the backdrop, the officers making the presentation drove home the idea that if you encounter such a scenario, your very life depends on what you do next.  And they made the point that what most people naturally do next  — freezing up — gets them killed.  Their goal in giving the presentation?  Getting the attendees to change their mindset, quickly recognize the situation for what it is, and then take positive action to either escape, hold off or stop the killer until the police can arrive.  They also included some very important cautionary information for concealed pistol license holders that I think should be printed on the back of every CPL card about what will happen if they are observed at an active crime scene with a weapon visible.

I was impressed by what I saw tonight, as were the roughly 100 other people in attendance.  In the past I was forced to take some pretty substandard training on active shooter events by a previous employer, and I can tell you that this presentation was by far and away better.  It was more realistic, it gave more likely sounding advice, and it better put the emphasis on where it really needs to be: you have to save yourself!

In the decade that I have been acquainted with and have worked with Sterling Heights’ public safety departments I have always been more than satisfied by the level of professionalism and skill that our police and fire fighters bring to the job.  So I went into this presentation this evening with high hopes and expectations for what I would see.  All of my expectations were exceeded.  We truly have some talented police officers working in that training department, and it really showed.  I have to give special kudos to Officer Pawlik, who gave the bulk of the presentation: he brought an enormous amount of passion, knowledge and energy to this event, and in the future I will not be the least bit surprised to find out that the information he gave tonight has wound up saving the life of someone who attended.

If Sterling Heights church leaders, business owners and business managers demonstrate an interest in having more opportunities to receive this training, I believe the department will endeavor to deliver it.  It is intended for groups, rather than individuals, and it may be offered again sometime over the winter of 2016/17.  Follow the link above to the City of Sterling Heights website for more information on when the program might be offered again.

Are you a resident of Sterling Heights who is not a member of a group like this but wants these sort of training opportunities?  May I suggest that you strongly consider joining the Sterling Heights CERT?  We are looking for able bodied men and women willing to invest their time and effort in training to help their fellow residents during natural disasters or large scale events.  You must be an adult over 18 years of age and be able to pass a criminal background check.  Contact me at if you are interested.



Posted on September 28, 2016, in Public Safety. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Active Assailant Training.

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