TWIN FALLS — Mass shootings are nothing new to the United States. However, they are a rarity in Idaho.
Following Monday's deadly shooting at the Boise Towne Square, the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office, like many, were shocked.
“You don’t ever think it’s going to happen close to home, as close as it did," said Sgt. Ken Mencl of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. "It really just causes the law enforcement community as a whole to ponder the events that took place and make sure we’re prepared.”
Now, the Sheriff's Office is working to reassure local residents that if an active shooting incident were to occur here, they would be able to act accordingly.
To prepare themselves, the Sheriff's Office, Twin Falls Police and their collective tactical unit train monthly for critical response situations. They also work within the community and teach local organizations an emergency response program they call "ALICE."
“Which means Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate," said Sgt. Mencl. "That’s also the program we teach in our schools and we work to help educate the public on what they can do if they find themselves involved in a mass critical incident.”
The Sheriff's Office says that a person's first and immediate reaction should be to evacuate and stay clear of the ongoing incident. If that is not a possibility, the next best thing to do is find a secure location and shelter in place.
They also encourage, without putting yourself in harm's way, to call 911 and relay any information about the suspect you may have. The last thing someone should attempt to do is confront the suspect, yet if you find yourself in this situation, defend yourself by any means necessary.
“Use anything you have at your disposition," said Sgt. Mencl. "Whether it’s a book or a stapler or some sort of improvised weapon to ward off the attack so that you have a fighting chance.”
The Sheriff's Office does not want to instill fear in the public of going out. However, they encourage people to be cautious of their surroundings.
“Be prepared to take action so that you’re not left without a plan," said Sgt. Mencl. "The best response is to try and do the right thing and to get out of the way, the worst response is to stand there and do nothing.”