Are Seattle police trained to respond to a shooter firing from above? | KUOW News and Information

Are Seattle police trained to respond to a shooter firing from above?

Oct 5, 2017

In the wake of the Las Vegas attack, King County and Seattle law enforcement are considering training officers to deal with an elevated shooter situation.

Gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 people at an outdoor music festival Sunday and wounded hundreds more.

He opened fire from a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.  

Seattle Police Department spokesman Patrick Michaud said SPD trains officers to deal with a range of active shooter scenarios, but he said they're always adapting their training.

"Each year the scenarios change a little bit based on certain things that have happened across the country and across the planet that we then have to learn from," Michaud said.

Michaud said SPD may add an elevated shooter scenario to the training for all officers in the wake of the tragedy.

"Our SWAT officers specifically have done training that involves that type of scenario in the past. And now that everyone is aware that this is a distinct possibility, we will be looking at adding that to our regular training as well," he said.

Michaud said part of active shooter training is teaching officers how to problem solve and how to proceed in a wide range of situations. He said he feels SPD officers are prepared.

But King County Sheriff John Urquhart doesn't feel so confident.

He said their active shooter training usually focuses on schools, and he doesn't feel they're prepared for a scenario with someone shooting from above.

"It really hasn't been on our radar. Just like, prior to a couple of years ago, we never thought about a box truck barreling down a sidewalk like what happened in Nice. We just haven't seen that," Urquhart said.

Urquhart said they’ll adapt.

"We have to change our response, we have to start to train differently for a scenario that we hadn't contemplated," he said.

Urquhart said they'll consider how to change their training once more is known about the Las Vegas attack and police response.

Both SPD and the King County Sheriff’s department urge the public to call law enforcement if anything suspicious is seen. Urquhart also said people need to be aware of their surroundings at events and know where the exits are.