The Columbia Police Department is offering free active shooter/violent intruder training sessions for citizens and businesses in Columbia next weekend.
According to a CPD news release, the training outlines the process of planning for and reacting to an armed intruder. It will discuss the decision-making process people might have to employ in a crisis situation.
"It basically deals with educating (the public) about these incidents and how to start the process and planning for an armed intruder, whether it (takes place in) a business, shopping center, place of worship or a school," CPD Sgt. Joseph Bernhard said in an email.
The first two training sessions are being offered Feb. 2. The sessions will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Columbia Police Regional Training Center at 5001 Meyer Industrial Drive.
"It is mostly a lecture with a few demonstrations and a little class participation," Bernhard said in an email. "Nothing strenuous. It is not a martial arts or self defense class."
CPD has received several requests for this training over the past two months, according to the news release. In order to accommodate a large number of requests for the training, each session will accommodate up to 80 people.
Senior Andrew Jones said he is skeptical of the program's feasibility.
"I think that it's a good idea for people to put on events like this, as the information will be very useful in the event of an emergency," Jones said. "However, at the same time, I don't think it's a good idea for CPD to offer it to everyone because it could teach criminals how to perfect the crimes they are committing, as they will be aware of what the victims will be thinking and planning to do."
Sophomore Turner Johnson, a Maneater staff member, said he sees the benefit of the training sessions.
"I think it's an awesome idea, getting people a bit more familiar with guns," Johnson said. "The familiarity will help alleviate some of the fear and negative stigma attached to firearms."
The training is being offered to people age 18 and older. According to a post on CPD's Facebook page, the training for students and children is a little different, as the information is adjusted for their ages.
Anyone interested in attending should contact Bernhard to register. Name, home address or place of employment and a phone number or email address are requested upon registration.