Public key in preventing mass shootings

Staff Writer

While local law enforcement officers undergo extensive “active shooter” training to combat incidents similar to what happened Sunday in Orlando, Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutz and Lt. Josh Ellsworth of the Bishop Police Department said there is no better tool than members of the public.
Omar Mateen went to Pulse Orlando, a night club, early Sunday and opened up on the party goers with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, according to the Associated Press. Mateen, a 29-year-old American-born Muslim, was killed in a gun battle with a SWAT team.
As far as preventing situations like the Orlando shooting, Ellsworth said public involvement is key.
“We are asking for the public’s help,” Ellsworth said. “If there is anything suspicious or out of he ordinary, something that makes the hair on the back of your neck raise, regardless of how trivial it might seem, please contact law enforcement. It is much easier for us to go check. Most of the time it turns out to be nothing, but there is always that one time that it might be something and we want to know. You aren’t wasting our time, this is what we are here for, and we want to follow up on those nuances.”
Lutz agreed.
“If someone sees or hears something, or sees a post on social media, they need to call us,” Lutz said. “The public is our eyes and ears. They may think it is insignificant but call anyway. A lot of times, by the time we hear about it, it’s too late.”
Ellsworth said in recent years, active shooter training has become an important part of law enforcement training.
For more on this story, see the Tuesday edition of The Inyo Register.