OPELOUSAS, La (KLFY) – What should you do in the event of an active shooter situation? That was the main discussion at the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce’s monthly educational luncheon.
The chamber is bringing awareness to a serious topic–active shooter preparedness.
“I think that it’s important that if we work together to kind of attack this issue before it attacks us, we’re going to be better off as a community as a whole as an entire parish,” said Raquella Manuel, President and CEO of the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce.
Manuel says she believes it’s important to have a plan in place, and law enforcement officials say it starts in the workplace.
“You evacuate first if you can, but if not, we don’t like to say hide we like to say defend in place,” said St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s spokesman, Major Eddie Thibodeaux. “Get ready for someone to attack you, of course put the objects in front of the door.”
“An active shooter incident, that’s unpredictable, and it evolves very quickly and it’s something that can be over with in 10-15 min. and that could cause the result of many lives,” said Opelousas Police Chief, Donald Thompson.
Major Thibodeaux and Chief Thompson say neither of their agencies have ever encountered an active shooter, but say oftentimes authorities know who the shooter is.
“He or she is a former employee and sometimes you think that the firing ends the trouble, and most of the time that’s really when it just begins,” said Major Thibodeaux, and a lot of the time that person is mentally unstable.
“You have a lot of people living with some type of mental disability and you have to know how to deal with those types of people,” said Chief Thompson.
Major Thibodeaux says the sheriff’s office offers free classes to businesses within the parish that are interested in active shooter training. For more information, contact the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office.