Interview with ALERRT's John Curnutt

46:53
 
اشتراک گذاری
 

Manage episode 303799934 series 2385308
توسط C3 Pathways توسط Player FM و جامعه ما پیدا شده است - کپی رایت توسط ناشر، و نه متعلق به Player FM، و صدا به طور مستقیم از سرور های آنها پخش می شود.برای پیگیری به روز رسانی در Player FM دکمه اشتراک را بزنید، و یا فید URL را به دیگر برنامه های پادکست بچسبانید.

Episode 47: Interview with ALERRT's John Curnutt

This week we are interviewing John Curnutt from ALERRT. We discuss how ALERRT started, it's mission, and how it works together in the active shooter picture.

Bill Godfrey:

Welcome to the Active Shooter Incident Management Podcast. My name is Bill Godfrey, your podcast host. Today I've got with us a special guest. We've got John Curnutt, assistant director of the ALERRT Center over in San Marcos, Texas, and our sponsor for the ASIM class along with TEEX. John, it's good to have you here.

John Curnutt:

Oh man, it is great to be here. Thank you for having me.

Bill Godfrey:

So John, thanks for joining us today. Why don't we start off ... I'd be actually surprised if any of our audience didn't really know who ALERRT was or how you guys fit into the active shooter picture but talk a little bit about ALERRT and the mission and how everything fits together.

John Curnutt:

It's great to be here. Thank you for having me. It's interesting, our starts are very humble. Back in 2000, 2001, it was very localized. We were looking at our response after Columbine and trying to see how would we do something different in our training, the equipment, the policies, everything that needed to change for the new normal or the new emerging trends as we saw them.

So long story short, we started applying for grants because we were ... Small to medium-sized agencies, we didn't have the big budgets, and we could not afford to get the training and the equipment to train with that we knew that we needed to have the best bang for the buck. So as we applied for grants, everything just kind of turned into a here's a program, you have a program, we'll help fund this, but you have to take this program out. So if it was a state grant, we were going across the state now. If it was a federal grant, we were going across the country.

Right after we started kind of working on this, 9/11 happened. We're coming up on the 20 year anniversary of that. So that kind of kicked things into a whole nother gear. They started looking for anti-terrorism programs that were up and ready to go. They could just be retooled just a little bit to kind of fit this new national threat that we were facing, and so all this kind of contributed to what we put in our course and the ferocity and the passion behind teaching the course.

So years later, we are a research-based organization out of Texas State University. We look at everything, we analyze everything. The events, the cause and effect of how the response went, any deficiencies, and we try to fill those gaps with meaningful curriculum. So what do we teach, how do we teach, what do we spend more time on, all that stuff. So we've developed civilian response training as a result of that. We've developed medical training for police, we've developed tactical training for the medical people, all this stuff over the years. The incident management piece has obviously been huge. We've studied all these events and the communication, command and control, the C3 if you will, has always been lacking, and a lot of it, it's a law enforcement issue.

So we're always looking for where are the gaps and how to best fill those gaps, and the connectivity with our other sister services in the first response community, the civilian response component, the emergency management aspect, we're trying to bring all the stakeholders together as best we can with the grants that we're given. Our goal basically to sum it up is to have the best research-based active attack training in the country. So in doing that, we solicit, we look for, we seek out events and great training programs and people with a lot of experiences and friends of ours that have been through a lot of stuff, not just here in the United States but overseas, and we try to extrapolate from that what would translate well into a patrol reality, into an EMS paramedic reality, into a firefighter reality as you make the scene first on one of these incidents. So that's kind of who we are in a nutshell and what we do and who we do it for and what we're all about.

Bill Godfrey:

John, I think that's a fantastic explanation of what ALERRT does and the mission, and you're the assistant director there, right? What does your day to day job look like? What is the kind of stuff you end up spending your time on?

John Curnutt:

Yes sir. So I started as one of the lead instructors back in the day and then moved up to director of training and then into the assistant director position. My day to day now, I have IT training, logistics. I coordinate very heavily with research so that everything is all pulling and pointing in the same direction and everything complements each other smoothly across the board. So the grants that we get, they offset the costs for the training we do out the door. So right before COVID, we were tooled up and on track to do about 1,300 , maybe almost 1,400 classes per year across the United States with the grants that we were receiving, both state and federal grants. So putting that all together and sending it out the door, making it free for the end user, for the agencies, for the officers that are attending, it's a very, very herculean effort if you will from kind of a small staff, relatively small staff when you look at the amount of throughput that we have, about 35 staff members. So I'm looking at all these areas, making sure that everything kind of complements and works in unison.

During COVID, the in-person training obviously was shut down for a period of time. So all of our training programs that we put out, all of the certified instructors that we had minted over the years, they continue to do their own internal training. So we're still doing some training and we're still supporting those indirects with our funding. But we had to kind of look at things a little bit differently so we created an e-learning LMS revision for ALERRT so that we could go online and we could do some meaningful training online and really try to get into that space and just expand our course offerings and how we offered it and be able to kind of permeate the training more across all of our responders.

So we create a new learning division in 2020, which required us to get the LMS system and hire people. So that is under me as well and as we kind of build that thing out and figure out how that's going to complement everything that we do in-person and maybe even some of the things we can't afford to do in-person yet, we can start putting some online versions of those courses and trainings and supplemental training, instructor updates, re-certifications, all that stuff is going through our LMS now.

So I basically make sure that everything that we say we're going to do on the grant applications get done, the operational output, throughput is done. Make sure that people know who we are, what we're about, and if they have something that they want or need from us, that we get it to them.

Bill Godfrey:

It sounds like you have a very busy day, day to day.

John Curnutt:

Yeah. It's fun. It's fun.

Bill Godfrey:

So you mentioned in the opening when you were talking about ALERRT, the research-based mission or the research-based component of the training. I know Dr. Martindale has just recently gone through and updated the data set with the latest stuff from last year. What new trends if any are you seeing? What stayed the same, what's shifting around a little bit, any insights into the data and changes that that may be driving for the ALERRT mission coming up?

John Curnutt:

Absolutely. Well you know early on, when we were looking at events and there were only 12 to 15 to 18 a year, you would have an outlier event and it would really skew the averages quite a bit. A large event and several small events, and you average those together, and the problem still looked a lot bigger than it really was or lasted a lot longer than it really did. So we started using median or the mean...that middle number. There was an equal number smaller, equal number larger, so that we could kind of try to frame or reference this thing a little bit cleaner. As time has gone on now, we're at well over 400 events in the last 20 years that we've studied and co-authored with the FBI's research. We're starting to see that the time duration for these events seems to be trending downward like they're over with quicker. I think that's attributable to civilian response, the messaging that's getting out thee, the training that public and private organizations are engaging with their employees, their staff, even churches are getting this and civic groups are getting this. Kiwanis Clubs were going out and doing these all over the places. So you're starting to see that these events are less people that are caught up in the event because it lasts less time.

The other thing we've seen is over the last seven or so years, we're starting to see an increase in the number of attacks involving edged weapons and vehicles as the mode of injury. So they're still very predominately firearms-related, but when it's an edged weapon, a knife, a machete, something like that or a vehicle that's being used to mow through a crowd of people, there's this tendency for people to look at that and go, "Okay, so what's the training for that?" It's the same. The response is the same. There's a serious injury or death that's occurring in progress, we show up, you have to stop that killing in progress, and then you have people that are seriously injured, you have to stop them from dying as a result of their injuries and you have to coordinate with other services. You have to get all this stuff done.

So the trends have been over the years getting medical training into the cops' hands, getting tactical training into the fire and EMS. Integrating them cleanly with unified command and establishing a command structure and building it as time and resources arrive on scene and trying to really refine that process of everything that happens after, after we stop the killing, the coordination, the communication, the prioritization of getting life-saving treatment to those who need it and getting them very quickly to definitive care, because it's really going to be surgical intervention that's going to save their lives or just trying to delay the dying process with everything that we do in pre-hospital care. So these are all the kind of emerging trends, now we're getting into pre-hospital care, fresh blood. Some of the other stuff that we're seeing. That's kind of where we're looking is the coordination, communication, command and control piece, the pre-hospital care, the tactical piece has been worked on for quite a while and I think we've gotten pretty good at arriving on scene very quickly. We've definitely done a good job in training civilians to protect themselves, get away, keep them out and then when they have to defend themselves. So these are things that we'll just continue to double down on but we're also looking for emerging trends and those are the ones that we see at this time.

Bill Godfrey:

That makes sense, and obviously your discussion about the incident management piece and that coordination piece is where we've been living for a decade now and focusing on the training and the process that drives behind the ASIM checklist and pulling all that together but it obviously is focused around the time. What if anything can we do to neutralize the threat faster and certainly to medically intervene and decrease the time it takes to get them on an ambulance and get them to the hospital. So I think those are great focus areas.

You mentioned the duration stuff, that the duration seems to be shortening up a little bit and I know from years past and talking with Dr. Martindale, that the duration data has been shall we say challenging to say the least. A lack of documentation, a lack of clean standards. Sometimes you don't know when the threat actually ceased to be a threat, even after the investigation, it can be hard to pin down. Have you guys, and I know he was working really hard with his research team to try to nail that down, did they actually get their arms around that in this last pass on some of the new events and the data? Is that getting cleaner?

John Curnutt:

Yeah, so one of the difficult things is trying to code these events very specifically so that we're talking about apples and apples every time something happens, when we look at the cause and effet, how do we prepare people to arrive on scene and handle what they're dealing with and not try to loop this in with some other kind of more common type of occurrence. A lot of people get shot on certain nights or weekends in certain cities, but those aren't active shooters per se. These were not workplace violence or somebody walking into a school or just randomly attacking a school or a church or a music venue or anything like that. But one of the things that we've started to kind of open up is this discussion on mass shootings where maybe it is gang-related or maybe it is a fight gone bad or somebody got angry and shot into a crowd of people, aiming for somebody they were angry with and just gotten into a fight with, but they hit a bunch of other people and this just happened a couple months ago in Austin.

When we show up on the scene, we don't know what the motive of the offender was or how many offenders there were or whatever, we just have the same net result, which is a bunch of people shot laying on the ground in an unknown security situation, so now we've got to get security, we got to have incident command up and running, we got to get medical going, we got to get them expedited out of here, and have these contingency plans for what if things that are going okay right now go south really quick. So we're starting to kind of broaden that definition from traditional active shooter workplace violence, school violence to any mass shooting, mass casualty incident, regardless of the motive of the person.

Bill Godfrey:

I think that makes a lot of sense for all kinds of reasons but not the least of which is the challenges sometimes of comparing one data set with another one. I know that of course in our courses, we're using the data set that ALERRT publishes, which is fairly consistent with the FBI but even there there's some little differences. I always find it fascinated how much people can get wrapped around the axle about arguing, about what was or wasn't an active shooter event, and from my point, it's a little bit of a ... What's the word I'm trying to think of? Tempest in a teapot, arguing about a distinction, when really the question should be what was the response?

John Curnutt:

There you go.

Bill Godfrey:

What did we know at the time of dispatch? Because as you said, when the call goes out, it doesn't matter what it actually is or what it turns out to be two days later when the investigators are done. What matters is it what it sounds like when it went out and then how do we respond to that.

I do find it fascinating, having those conversations with people that just really...they'll go through the data to the nth degree, and then get really frustrated when they can't compare one data set to another and of course part of that argument goes away, the larger these data sets get, the more reliable they get. But it is kind of interesting. Have you experienced that as well when you're having ... Because I know you work pretty closely with the FBI and a lot of the other federal organizations. Do you end up in that same conversation sometimes?

John Curnutt:

We do. But that conversation is the same as many other conversations we've had on other topics, when we talk about tactics, since day one. Our own people, let alone us showing up to some strange new city from wherever we came from, can talk about tactics, and everyone loves to argue about tactics. It seems like the comfort zone of this is what I think and this is why I think it and who are you to say anything different, and a long time ago we learned...Something that was said many, many years ago, that amateurs argue tactics, professionals will discuss strategy and logistics. So we get caught up in these arguments though and this is another one of those. So is this an active attack? Is this an active shooting? Is this a mass shooting? Is this a...I think forensically when you look back on it you need a post-incident analysis. It is interesting to know, "All right, so if it was workplace violence, what were the pre-attack indicators that probably could have been seen and something said about them to maybe prevent this? What was the psychology of this student that walked in and started shooting a bunch of people and what were the pre-attack indicators where we might have been able to get better at intervention and prevention?"

When you lump that in with gang fights and fights gone bad in a mass environment or somebody got kicked out of a club and they walk back and just shoot indiscriminately into the club, you really aren't looking at anything different on the tactical response or the medical response, but you are looking at this differently from the investigative standpoint of culpability or prevention or could it have been prevented or how do we look for the red flags based off of the psychological clues. But at the end of the day, yeah, we're all sitting around and we're arguing semantics and we're arguing context and I have the luxury of saying that's awesome, you health science people, you mental science people, you argue that.

I'm down here in the weeds, I'm kind of a knuckle dragger and I'm going to be down here, teaching people again, what do we know about these events, how do we show up on scene, ready to go? What do we need to take with us as far as equipment and mindset, physical and mental and tactical abilities that we've honed prior to this day, and what do we know about the people that we're going to invite to the party as early as possible and the fire and EMS services? What are we doing with our hospitals that are going to receive this surge of patients and what's their surge capacity for this many trauma wounds and all this stuff that we have to work with. I'll let the other people talk about how to categorize this. Meanwhile I'm going to go back here, working on trying to bend the space-time continuum with this patrol car and get there faster.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, 100%. 100%. One of the funny things to me, I mean this is probably not going to be funny to you when I say it, but it is funny to me. I learned a while back, one of the fastest ways to get a bunch of cops arguing with each other is to get them started talking about room entry tactics. It does seem to be one of those things that nobody can agree on and like you said everybody holds...They not only hold their own opinion but they hold the position that only their opinion is correct and it can lead to some fireworks in the classroom.

John Curnutt:

Oh yeah. It's fighting words. It's like talking about somebody's sister, but again, it's funny because the tactics are all based around the same basic concepts. Speed, surprise, controlled aggression, you're trying to get from a point that you control through a choke point into a new area that you don't control and gain control of it, given that anything can happen on the way to, through, and beyond the door that you're about to make entry through. Another thing we argue about is which way, do you go this way, do you go that way, do you attack this corner first, do you attack that corner first, do you move in the direction that you've seen, do you move in the direction you haven't seen? How's your ballistic protection postured as you go through the door, where the threats could come from first and then second and then third and then fourth. At the end of the day, we're all still arguing within the same operational context. You really want to win this fight, so you're looking for where the fight has to occur now, and then two seconds from now, two feet from now.

At the end of the day when we do our research that's another reason to really go back to the research component of what we do is we will spend so much time arguing and we will hijack entire portions of training classes, arguing about the minutiae and the tactics and the preferences, and at the end of the day, when we look at the data, that's not where we're getting shot on these actual event responses. We're getting shot arriving on scene, getting out of our car, people showing up at the front of the building, trying to get in, moving down the hallway to intercept them as we know where they're at and we're driving towards them and they come out and they see us, we see them, and then we have it out there in the hallway. So if those are the areas where we're actually getting shot and killed responding to these things, how do we...Do we put more emphasis on approaches to buildings as opposed to room entries? No we don't do that, because we still like to argue about room entries.

So it's a never-ending battle. Everyone has really good points. No one's wrong, everyone wants to do the right thing and wants to make this a better product and get better performance out of their people. As a program, it goes from very small, two, three person agencies all the way up to 45,000 person agencies and everything in between. Our approach has to be flexible so that we can meet people where they're at and we can show them what they're willing and able to open their minds to. Or if they're not, then we can show them, "Okay, so you like that. We teach that. Let's work on that." Again, training is about learning new things. It may be validating what you do, but also if there's another way to skin this cat, because if the primary plan doesn't work, you have to have an alternate and you have to have a contingency, maybe an emergency plan. But again, we're not going to argue with anybody. I mean we've seen all these ways work. At the end of the day it's really a mindset thing a little bit more than a tactical thing. I've seen some people in really bad situations with poor equipment but they have the right mindset and they can still see that tactical advantage. There's so much to this that we're not going to get caught up in these arguments anymore.

Bill Godfrey:

I think you're right on the spot. The other thing that I think sometimes people forget is the amount of training that the typical patrol officer or guy or gal on the street actually gets in the academy and why some of this stuff is so essential. I was speaking last night to a group of city and counter managers and I was saying...We were talking a little bit about some of the current stuff that comes up and the challenges that can occur at that city and county manager level, and I said, "Look, you've got to remember. A typical patrol officer," and it varies from state to state and one jurisdiction to another. But a typical academy is about six months. Some are a little shorter, some are a little longer, but about six months, and within that six months, they might actually spend two days working on active shooter response, active shooter training, and dynamic room entries. In that two days, you've got a handful of instructors that are running evolutions with two or three officers at a time, everybody else is kind of standing and watching. You got class sizes usually of 30 to 40 people in the class, do the math. Each officer is getting...If they're lucky, an hour of actual training on that, and how much are they going to be able to remember that? How much are they going to retain it?

So when I look at, and of course, for the full transparency here, everybody remember, I'm a fire guy, not a cop. When I look at the training that's going on in the classes, and John, some of the arguments that you just talked about that come up of, "Well, you're supposed to hook right or I hook left or I go to the center or you get the blind corner, whatever," and I'm thinking, "Lord. You're scripting stuff at a level that might be appropriate for a SWAT team that's practicing what, once or twice a week? They're running their drills and running rehearsals and they're doing deployments or call-outs on a regular basis, not a control person that had training in the academy and hasn't had a refresher in three years and you're expecting them under the moment of pressure to recall all this." The thing that strikes me is that it really ... I think the bigger issue is just can we simplify that message so that what they remember is I need to go in.

John Curnutt:

That's it.

Bill Godfrey:

I need to go in and try to make a difference and stop this and if I've got a buddy with me, great. Here's how that should sort of kind of look. Not the least of which let's not shoot each other in the process of going through the door. But yeah, I agree with you. I think it's an awful lot of time and energy spent on a discussion and like you said, it's not wrong, but is it the right discussion for the audience and are they going to be able to retain that with the level of training that their particular organization is going to maintain with them? What do you think about that?

John Curnutt:

Well, we're very checklist-oriented. We want to create a checklist that we can follow that's going to solve the problem. The issue with that is these problems are very dynamic and fluid and there's just so many variables that could come in the situation, the location, the time, the resources you have to throw with this. Everything gets a vote, and so it may not go according to your checklist. Matter of fact, it's probably not going to go according to your checklist. So now you've got to have people that are capable of critical thinking, and not just rote memorization drills, trying to apply this template over something that doesn't work and I use the analogy all the time of learning how to dance and okay, so if you memorize these dance steps of that one song, what happens when they switch songs? What happens when the music speeds up, slows down or stops altogether? You're not even paying attention to that anymore because you're still worried about on the left foot, right foot.

It's also, you use another analogy, we learn tactics very much like we learn language. So when we're kid, we learn ABCs, and we play with these little blocks that we put together in different orders to form words and then we form sentences and then we hope to form paragraphs and then pages and then thesis statements. We don't get that far in training because we don't have enough time to advance beyond the ABCs of the words of the sentences. So we certainly never get to any graduate level or doctoral level analysis on what we're doing and why we're doing it. We're just still playing with these building blocks. Because that's the amount of time that we're given. I mean we have high school sports teams that are training more for a game on Friday than we're getting to train for life and death situations that we go to. There's an issue with that. So defund the police and shrink the budgets and less training is all, it's all in the wrong direction. But then it's not just more training and more budget, it's what are we doing with our time and we're trying to take what we do on the...

I was on SWAT for 18 years and we were carefully selected, very rigorous selection process. Go through this training on a regular basis to create this organic functional team. There's a lot that we developed through all of that that does not translate cleanly to what you already talked about is a very small ad hoc team of people who don't know each other, the disparity of training and experience and mindset and equipment from different agencies most likely that shows up on one of these events. There is your team, how do you keep that together and how does that function the same way that this polished, smooth, organic professional team over here does? It doesn't. So something has to be translated differently, something has to be modified to fit that reality, but we don't ever want to go down that road.

So yeah, you've got to have critical thinkers. People that can size up the situation and go, "Okay, this is what we're dealing with. Here's how we get this done. How do we go through this door? You could go left, you could go right, you could go straight, but I just know we need to get the hell through the door."

Bill Godfrey:

Right. Yes, yes. Yes twice. It's funny, you talked about the checklist stuff. I mean that's always one of the items that we had to carefully balance when we developed the original version of the checklist so many years ago, and of course, we're always watching for opportunities of can we simplify it, can we make it better, what are the lessons learned. It comes down to it's a rather than a procedural checklist, like you might have a pilot, and a lot of people don't draw the distinction. But with an aircraft checklist that a pilot would use, it's a very specific, very precise procedure in a very specific order. Throw this switch, set this, do that. What we've done on the active shooter incident management checklist is removed from that. It's almost more like a goal checklist. These are the things that need to get done, generally speaking, this is the order that you want to try to accomplish them in, but you've got to have the capability to adjust dynamically, which is one of the reasons that we run 11 full-scale scenarios through the course where we're throwing all different kinds of scenarios at them.

I mean the very first one we'd start with on the beginning of the day is it's super simple. They get about four people shot, and the suspect kills themselves. So it's a very, very simple incident, but as we build over the course of the 11, we're building all the way up to basically Paris style complex coordinated attacks. But the process is the process, and when you can get a group on the same page of, "Oh yeah, okay, we need to do this. Okay, so this is kind of where we're at, this is the next step, these are the sequences." Some common terminology across it. Those are really the key elements to taking time off the clock, which of course is...John, I know you're well aware, is one of our big, big, big focuses in class. It's the very first thing we talk about in the opening on the morning of day one and it's the last thing we close with is reminding everybody that this is about the clock.

One of the things that's important to me to say is it's not about best or right or wrong. I don't think those are useful terms. It's what's the fastest.

John Curnutt:

Yes. That's it.

Bill Godfrey:

What's the fastest way to get this done?

John Curnutt:

We've used terms like driving force and exigent to try to hit home these points. Look, exigent means it's got to happen right now. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to happen pretty darn quick. Because it's about results, and the results are stop the killing, stop people from dying as a result of their injuries, and the clock that you just talked about isn't from the time that we were made aware of the problem that's happening, the clock started the second that somebody, the instant that somebody was shot.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely.

John Curnutt:

So that's the real clock that we're up against.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, and it's interesting to see that with a little bit of process and a little bit of practice, how much time people can save off the clock. We see almost every single class, almost every single class, their time to get all patients transported on the very first scenario, which granted, first scenario is always bumpy. But their time to get those four patients off the scene and transported is usually longer than the time that they turn in on the very last capstone scenario, where they've got multiple attackers simultaneously attacking multiple sites. It's just a little bit of process and a little bit of practice goes a long way. It would be nice if we could get more people through it, but that's the reality of the challenge we face is there's only so many of these we can do, we got to move them around the country, get them in front of people. You mentioned your online effort. During COVID of course we were challenged, "Alright, everything we do is a hands-on training. How would we do this hands-on training remotely?"

That led us to creating the NCIER Campus for the National Center for Integrated Emergency Response, we created an online campus that allows us to recreate almost a real classroom environment where you can actually casually talk to people, you can walk to different rooms. We've got the hands-on activities. We've even built out the 911 center in the CAD system, so we're able to run full scenarios soup to nuts, from the dispatch to the last patient transported into the hot wash. But if you would have asked me two years ago John, did I ever think that was possible, I would have flat-out told you no.

John Curnutt:

Yeah. Well that's something that everything we do is about let's look at what's working and see what's not working yet and we have to just constantly evolve. We have to constantly push beyond the loop to make ourselves better. It's funny because I'll use this, if my son never gets to hear this, he'll appreciate this. He's a huge basketball fan and his favorite player in the world is Steph Curry who happens to be...He holds the number one spot for career free-throw percentages, I think it's around 90, 91%. Which is incredible and people just go crazy, especially when you start talking about his shots from the field. But it's amazing that it's not 100% because the guy puts in thousands of reps a day and he has for 20+ years to hone his craft so that on game day, he can be 90%. So that's crazy, that's an anomaly when you start looking at who's the fifth best and who's the tenth best, these guys are professional athletes, high, high, highly paid professional athletes, and they will spend 90% of their time practicing perfectly these skills that they need to go out there and score and win games.

None of that resembles what we do in first response training. We don't get that much time, we can't get that many reps in, but we're still expected to be 100% when we go out there on game day, given the myriad of variables that could come in there and interfere with our good plans and good intentions. I just think that...Oh, go ahead.

Bill Godfrey:

I was just going to say amen. I mean amen.

John Curnutt:

Yeah, and what's amazing to me is how close to 100% we still get, even though we don't put near that much time and effort into it because we just don't have that much time and money and effort to put into it because we're too busy working all the time. So I'm excited about the opportunity to find different ways to get people to think about these things, work through these problems, mentally, emotionally, tactically, physically put themselves in these situations and under the stress as much as they can to replicate the game day conditions so that we can see what the breaking point is and then go back and fix that, work on it again. Fix that, work on it again. So that's the perpetual mission of ours is just try to constantly advance our capabilities as a response culture across the country.

Bill Godfrey:

Amen. You used your son as an example. My wife will say to me every once in a while, a Tom Cruise movie comes on, she'll say, "Hmm. He still looks good." Tom Cruise is a couple years older than me, with the implied why don't you look like that, I'm like-

John Curnutt:

She'd look over you and go, "Hey, hey."

Bill Godfrey:

"Yeah, what's wrong with you?" And I'm like, "Hey, it's a little bit of a different context. You know what? If I had his money, a personal chef, a personal trainer and a personal gym and didn't have to work Monday through Wednesday most of the time except when I'm on set, I could look like that too." Not necessarily saying I would, but I could.

John Curnutt:

Or be closer to it. Yeah.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, and I think your analogy there, the professional sports team, is really appropriate because we don't as a public safety community, we are not afforded anywhere near that kind of time or training opportunity to do it. But the thing that I think is comparable with professional sports teams is they don't get better on their own just by practicing. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect, and that takes coaching. It takes people to help you hone your craft and I think that's one of the advantages that we certainly bring to the active shooter realm, both of our groups, us on the incident management side, and all of the stuff that ALERRT does is that you've got the opportunity to improve your practice, the little bit of practice you get, can get a whole lot better because you've got an expert coach there that can help you point out the little things that may matter. When your day comes tragically, God forbid when your day comes, that little thing that some instructor corrected or pointed out or got you to adjust might make the difference.

John Curnutt:

Well and so to kind of get back to an earlier conversation we had about arguing tactics and stuff, so it is a valid point that you've got to start somewhere and you have to work on those basics and you have to have a very sound system that you practice on a regular basis. But what's amazing to me is the true professionals, man I've seen some of these players make crazy shots, off-kilter, off-balance, falling down. But they understand the mechanics now of how to get a ball through the air that distance at an angle that's going to go off the glass maybe and then they joke about did he call glass or not. Sometimes it goes just straight in, nothing but net, some room. At some point, it isn't about the perfect form anymore, it's just understanding how to make the shot happen regardless of where I'm standing, how I'm standing, who's guarding me, what's going on.

That's where we're trying to get our people is, "Look, it's no longer about it's got to be this platform, this form, or it's not going to work." No, we can still make it work. We've got to have this graduate level discussion. We've got to get beyond the ABC blocks. We just need more time and we've got to have more focused, intense effort on getting those things done that need to be done so that we can have graduate level discussions. We're writing paragraphs and pages and thesis statements on these topics that we're supposed to be industry experts on and not because of three hours of training that we took every two years or 40 hours that we took 25, six, eight years ago. That's ridiculous.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah, it is important to remember there's always more than one way to get something done and everything we teach, it's a way, not the way. It's a way, and there's a lot of ways to get stuff done. I think amen to all of this. So we're running towards the end of our time here. Let me ask you, what's new? What's coming up for ALERRT that you're excited about?

John Curnutt:

Well, two things. So we have our annual conference each year, and the really cool thing about the conference is it's our way of being able to go beyond what we're able to do with the grants that we get. The grants are amazing and they're our life's blood of the program. But there's also kind of some limitations on who we can reach with these grants and how much we get to do. So with the conference, it's self-funded, so that allows us a little bit of expanded left and right boundaries. We get physicians in there, directors of security, educators, nurses, everybody comes into this, military, and we're all looking at this from our own altitude and perspectives but we gain some insight into what other people in our communities, other stakeholders are also looking at it from and how they view it and how it impacts them. So it's a really cool opportunity to kind of bring everybody together under one big tent if you will and discuss this thing holistically.

The other thing that we're looking at, and again, typical fashion, we're all arriving late to this party but we're going to start pushing this really hard is none of the tactics that we teach, none of the verbal skills that we are trying to impart on people as far as de-escalation goes and interpersonal skills and all that, none of this works when the person that we're depending on to go out there and employ these things that they've learned in training, when that person is not in a good head space, in emotional health, mental health, physical health. These things have a direct correlating factor into how well they're going to perform in the field. The aggregate or cumulative effects of all the stress that we endure in our professions has been unaddressed. It's a PowerPoint slide that we say, "Hey everybody, stay happy." No, no, that's not enough. That's ridiculous. We got to do more, we got to take a more focused effort on trying to make people better. Bring people in healthy and keep them healthy throughout.

We have maintenance plans on our vehicles. Every so many thousand miles, you got to take it in and change these fluids and change the brake pads. You don't want to have something go out when you're in the middle of driving in a...pursuit driving or high speeds, running code, service your weapons, service this, service that, maintain this, maintain that, maintain that. We don't do anything with our people. We don't pull them off the line and say, "Look, before you brake, we're going to take you over here and we're going to fix something that has started to build up. There's a little bit of carbon buildup here, we need to just get rid of that." We're not doing that. It's actually shunned, it's frowned upon, and I think we're starting to see cracks and fissures in the structure, in the foundation of our professions here, with our people that are ... We have more officers kill each other or kill themselves each year than are killed by suspects or violent offenders. There's something going on. There's something going on and we need to address it. So that's something else that we want to get out of ahead of is in the middle of all this, how do we not become the monsters that we're training to fight?

Bill Godfrey:

I think that's a really important, important message. It's been about a month, two months ago I guess, we did a couple of podcasts with some responders to actual events and some of the mental health docs. Very heartfelt, and got a lot of very positive response from that and it's interesting to know how many people are hurting, either...And it's not always from one event. Obviously it can be, but it can also be the pattern of a career, and just a bucket of stuff that finally fills up until it overflows and when it overflows it can be very unhealthy for the individual and those around them. I completely agree with you and I think we've got a lot of room, a lot of room to do there.

Well John, it's been a pleasure having you with us today. I really enjoyed the conversation. Everybody look forward to the ALERRT conference October 30 through November 2 in Nashville this year, right?

John Curnutt:

Gaylord, Nashville, absolutely.

Bill Godfrey:

Alright. John, thanks for being with us today. I'd like to thank everybody for tuning in and listening. Hope you enjoyed the conversation. If you have any suggestions or questions for us that you'd like us to address, you can email them to info@c3pathways.com. Again that's info@c3pathways.com. I'd like to thank our producer Karla Torres for putting this together and until next time, stay safe.

48 قسمت