ASIS: Offices create defensive challenges for active shooter preparation

​We can now add newspapers (or office spaces in general) to the long list of places that had formerly been thought of as unthinkable for attacks, but now must be examined as possibilities in terms of active shooter incidents. It seems more clear than ever that schools, churches, sports and concert arenas -- nearly everywhere citizens congregate -- is ripe for mass violence. It is truly a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless, and one for which we must prepare.  -- IFPO.

Appears In February 2019 Print Issue of ASIS International's Security Management magazine

Five people were killed in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28, 2018. The gunman walked into the building and barricaded the rear exit of the newsroom before he began shooting. The newsroom’s design was open-concept, a popular design choice for news organizations.

“There are glass windows all around the room,” Terry Smith, a columnist for the Capital Gazette, told CNN in an article released shortly after the tragedy. “There is nothing except for a few half-walls at the editors’ offices on the left to impede a shooter.”

In addition to the open-concept layout, which left victims exposed, there was no receptionist or access control system the shooter had to bypass to enter the newsroom.

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“They had no access control in the front of the building,” notes Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University. “And that was a decision they had made, saying, ‘Look, it’s a community newspaper and we want people from the community to be able to come in and find reporters to tell stories to,’ and that’s how they got a fair amount of their information.”

Blair spoke on a panel at GSX 2018 that addressed the security of newsrooms in light of the Capital Gazette shootings. He tells Security Management that since the shooting, the Annapolis newspaper said it would change the location of the newsroom. “Now they have made the decision that they are not going to allow easy access to places,” Blair says. “A lot of places were starting to talk about moving their newsrooms up off the first floor to the second floor, or something like that, to make it more difficult to find them and access them.”

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By |2019-01-21T19:05:47-05:00January 21st, 2019|News|Comments Off on ASIS: Offices create defensive challenges for active shooter preparation

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