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Wake Forest Police Department offering active shooter response class

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WAKE FOREST — Times have changed, Larry Danforth says.

The Wake Forest Police Department lieutenant said the world we live in now includes a real risk of an active shooter threatening people’s lives.

According to the FBI, the U.S. experienced 50 active shooter situations in 2016-2017 that killed a combined 221 people. That is up from 40 incidents and 92 deaths during the previous two years.

“In no way do I ever believe an event like this will take place in Wake Forest,” Danforth said. “But what if it did?”

Drawing from his 17 years experience as a Wake Forest police officer and related training, Danforth has been offering a class to citizens to teach them how they should respond should they find themselves facing a rampaging gunman.

The police department is currently seeking participants for the next class, which will be Thursday evening.

“Schools teach people what to do in the event of a tornado,” Danforth said. “Why not, if this is such a tragic event, why not prepare yourself for an active shooter?”

Danforth leads the class through a program developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University. It teaches a strategy of avoid, deny, defend.

According to a press release, topics will include the history and prevalence of active shooter events, civilian response options, medical issues and considerations for conducting drills.

Danforth said his goal is to keep the classes small enough so people are comfortable asking questions. The class does not include hands-on training but is based around a video presentation and discussion led by Danforth.

Victims of an active shooter event often react instinctively and automatically, he said. By taking this class, citizens will have a better understanding of what to expect and what to do.

“What it does is it exposes what you can expect of your body,” Danforth said. “If something like this happens you’re more likely to survive if you have a plan ... because people panic.”

Knowledge of what to do during an active shooter incident is something he hopes his students never need, he said.

“My goal and hope is you have an idea what to do and you fall back on this class that I gave you.”


The class will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 25 at the Wake Forest Renaissance Center, 405 S. Brooks St.

The class is free but proof of registration is required. The class is limited to 100 participants.

For more information, or to register, visit