CRASE class held in Rusk: Citizens Response to Active Shooter Events

by Michelle Dillon Staff Writer

The Agrilife Extension and Texas Extension Education Agency recently sponsored a Citizens Response to Active Shooter Event, directed by DPS Sergeant Jean Dark, who has been conducting such courses about a year. The class took place at the Rusk Civic Center with approximately 20 people in attendance.

The “Avoid, Deny, Defend” strategy was developed in 2004 at Texas State University. The basic premise is to avoid the situation if possible, deny access to one’s location, and defend one’s life, if necessary.

Information presented by Dark during the course including the review of video clips from active shooter events as well as the physical effects of stressful situations. She noted as the heart rate continually increases as a result of stress, one loses fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cognitive ability and even the sense of hearing can be affected.

“We are not here to Monday morning quarterback a Sunday afternoon game,” Dark repeatedly stated, particularly when viewing video clips. “We honor our dead by training the living.”

Dark said after the class that she understood people could become defensive about the videos and wanted folks to know she wasn’t there to judge people on their reactions. As an instructor, she simply wants those who take the course to learn the best way to react to an active shooter or other violent event.

One attendee of the class, Carolyn Easter, of Wells, stated she had come because she lives alone and needed the information in case someone were to break in. She added she learned a lot, including “stuff to teach the grandchildren.”

Another attendee, Sharon Wood, of Alto, stated, “I’ve been concerned about shootings increasing and always thought why wasn’t there a law-abiding citizen with a gun around.”

The ladies were both asked what one piece of information from the class would they share with others.

“Be more aware,” Wood said, including “be[ing] aware of exits and how the people around you are acting.”

A CRASE training course was recently conducted at the Troup Library in January by

Sergeant Kyle Stowers, of the Troup Police Department and was also presented free to the public. The course has no minimal age limit and Stowers believes the age limit should be left to the discretion of parents.

“CRASE doesn’t show anything too graphic,” Stowers stated. “Although the subject matter itself can be disturbing. Any child who attends these courses should be mature enough to discuss with their parents what was covered and be able to have a realistic comprehension of the class material.”

Two classes have been presented in Cherokee County within less than three full months and Stowers was questioned about the frequency of the course offerings.

“I think it’s (CRASE) has become popular because these events have been occurring more frequently in recent years,” Stowers commented. “Social Media has also brought more news of these events to more people.”