Several local law enforcement officers traveled to Denison this week to participate in active shooter training.

Several local law enforcement officers traveled to Denison this week to participate in active shooter training.

The training course is known as ALERRT: Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training. It began in 2002 in San Marcos as a response to active shooter incidents, said ALERRT Instructor Stan Standridge.

"Since 2002, we (ALERRT) have been training officers across the nation trying to standardize responses to active threats," said Standridge, who is also the Abilene police chief. "Active threats across the United States continue to garner everybody’s attention, and they seem to be increasing. So … we teach local officers how to respond, isolate, distract and neutralize ongoing threats to save as many lives as possible."

The group’s goal is to teach their curriculum to every law enforcement officer in the country, which is estimated to be about 800,000, Standridge said. So far, the group has taught 60,000 officers; about 80 of which have been taught through the Denison PD hosting ALERRT.

About 45 officers representing 10 police departments participated in this week’s training, which was held at Lamar Elementary School. Law enforcement departments represented included the Denison PD, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, the Highway Patrol and the McKinney PD.

The group taught the course to local officers two years ago and asked to come back again this year. The Denison PD was happy to welcome ALERRT back, said Denison PD Lt. Mike Eppler.

"If there is ever an active shooter situation, we need to know how to act as a team and minimize casualties," Eppler said.

Eisenhower State Park Superintendent Ben Herman was at this week’s training, and also attended the training two years ago. ALERRT is "thorough" and "practical," he said. He also described it as a way to cross-train and network with officers from other departments that he usually would not see.

The course lasts 16 hours and spans two days. The last four hours consist of "force-on-force" training, in which students use "simmunition" handguns, Standridge said. The fake weapons, he said, "shoot a cartridge that travels about 400 feet and can break naked skin."

"We do that because it reinforces good tactics. It also reinforces when you make mistakes," Standridge said.

The number of mass shootings has risen since 2008, Standridge said, which is why ALERRT hopes to spread their message as far and wide as possible.