Bailiffs, Court Officers Get Handle on Guns, Crowds during Active Shooter Training
By Csaba Sukosd | November 14, 2019
Courtrooms are supposed to be quiet and civil, but like any public space, they've also experienced the unexpected. So, the men and women who protect the buildings are taking added steps to ensure security.
In conjunction with the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio Bailiffs and Court Officers Association recently held two days of training in downtown Columbus. Half of the instruction was a broader detailing of court security. The other half had more specified sessions, including how to handle a firearm in a crowd of people during an active shooter situation.
"It may be yourself and one other bailiff, and you have over 100 people in there. If you get someone that comes in there and says, 'Gun!," you've got to know how to move," said Stephen Gaines, a deputy bailiff for Cleveland Municipal Court.
The mixture of verbal and hands-on training stressed fundamentals on how to minimize mental mistakes in high-pressure situations. Those included gun placement, and how to navigate through a crowd.
"We give them the basic information here, and then they can practice it anytime, and then it just continues along," said Jeremy Allen, the course instructor and a weapons expert. "That way if they ever have to use it, they actually have the skill set."
Questions from participants varied from managing communication breakdowns amid chaos to what kind of holster they should use. While there can be a lot of variables in a real-life scenario, all of the exercises drilled a central message: public safety.
"If you're going to carry a weapon, we want everybody to be safe weapons handlers and good decision-makers," Allen said.