DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — The DeFuniak Springs Police Department is distributing a magazine titled "Any Time, Any Place: Active Shooter Situations" to give information to residents, businesses, churches and schools on planning for the possibility of a mass-shooting incident.
The magazine, from Texas-based LAW Publications, is advertising-supported, and did not cost anything to local taxpayers, according to Lt. Richard Black, commander of the police department's special operations division.
The department has previously used LAW Publications magazines to address various routine child-safety issues. But in the wake of the November 2017 shootings at a Texas church and the February shootings at a high school in Parkland, Fla., Chief Mark Weeks decided to use LAW Publications materials to help his community learn about and plan for the possibility of a local mass-shooting incident, Black explained.
"There's been a lot of interest in the community" in ensuring citizens are prepared for a shooting incident, Black said. DeFuniak Springs police officers "have talked to several churches about what they can do," he added.
Among other content, the 10-page magazine provides strategies for age-appropriate discussions with schoolchildren about active-shooter situations, suggests evacuation drills be held in workplaces, and lets people know what to expect when law-enforcement officers arrive at a shooting scene.
Delivery and distribution of the "active shooter" magazine coincided with the aftermath of the Saturday shooting at the Jewish Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead and six people injured.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims in Pittsburgh," Weeks said in a news release announcing the availability of the magazine. "We want to help prevent this tragedy from striking our community."
A few hundred copies of the magazine are available at the police department at 355 E. Nelson Ave., according to Black. Residents who would like to have the magazine delivered to them can call the department at (850) 892-8513.
If there is sufficient interest, it's possible that additional copies of the magazine will be printed, using the city's community service funds or funds from items seized in criminal investigations, Black said.
"We're not saying that this is going to solve the problem," Black explained, but he added that the magazine could prompt residents to think about what they would do in an active-shooter situation.
DeFuniak Springs police have conducted active-shooter drills at a local school, Black said, and they may now consider expanding that drilling.
"We may even now look at a church, if a church would open up their doors to us," he said.