GPD chief teaches class on surviving an active shooter situation at LBWCC

Published 5:33 pm Friday, December 22, 2017

Active shooter situations have sadly become a reality even in small American communities and towns.

Tragedies such as the Sutherland Springs church shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 26 people, indicate that such events can happen anywhere.

Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn, in recognition of this reality, is utilizing years of specialized training to teach classes on how to react, and survive, if the unthinkable happens.

Lovvorn is offering the classes to schools, businesses, and even individuals, using a combination of a program created by the City of Houston and supported by the Department of Homeland Security called “Run-Hide-Fight” and self-defense techniques that he has simplified to give ordinary citizens the means to protect themselves.

Last Tuesday, Lovvorn educated an enthusiastic group on the LBW Greenville campus about how to plan an escape, barricade doors and, as a last resort, the use of self-defense techniques to incapacitate and disarm a shooter. 

The DHS’s Run-Hide-Fight technique has become the standard educational material supplied to civilians on surviving an active shooter event.

According to the program, the first reaction in such a situation should be to attempt to safely run to an exit, leaving belongings behind and trying, if possible, to shepherd others to safety. Furthermore, the program emphasizes the importance of looking for the nearest exit and the basic layout of the room in any public setting.

The next option is to hide, remaining quiet and out of view while blockading doors or other entrances by any available means.

Lovvorn delves deeply into methods of blocking doors, including improvising chairs and tables as braces and belts or sweatshirts to tie off door handles.

The final step, fighting, is recommended as a last resort option, when running and hiding have become no longer possible, to incapacitate the shooter.

The DHS program illustrates how to improvise weapons and act decisively to stop an active shooter.

Lovvorn, a black belt in taekwondo, practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and recipient of a variety of advanced law enforcement training, elaborates substantially on the “Fight” portion of the program by demonstrating methods of safely disarming and disabling active shooters.

“This kind of training is about being able to defend yourself regardless of your size or strength… it’s more about technique,” said Lovvorn. Late in the class, Lovvorn backs up this statement by allowing anyone to come to the front and practice the self-defense techniques with Lieutenant Joe Disney, demonstrating that, with practice, even smaller people can effectively disarm a muscular, trained gunman. “It’s about having the mindset that you can protect yourself in these situations,” explained Lovvorn.

The classes have been requested and taught at high schools and businesses, and for groups of individuals.

Though he has taught a class of around 400 people, Lovvorn explained that the ideal class size is around 10 to 15 people, which allows him to personally demonstrate self-defense to each person.

For information about scheduling an active-shooter preparation class, contact the Greenville Police Department. The Run-Hide-Fight video can be found on YouTube or the DHS website.