Security experts believe schools should do more to be ready for shootings

Students checked outside Arapahoe H.S

Students evacuate Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13, 2013.

DENVER — A Colorado security expert believes schools across the country should be doing more to prepare for “active shooter scenarios.”

That scenario played out Friday when a teenaged gunman entered Arapahoe High School in Centennial and shot and critically injured one student before turning his weapon on himself.

“We’re at the point where an active shooter emergency action plan needs to be mandatory and practiced at least annually,” said Jimmy Graham, who runs CQD (Close Quarters Defense) Denver in Castle Rock.

Graham, who spent 15 years as a Navy Seal, now trains schools, government agencies and others in emergency response.

Although school districts have beefed up security post-Columbine, Graham thinks more comprehensive response plans involving students, faculty and staff at schools are needed.

“Everybody in the situation has a role, no matter what it is,” he said Monday. “If they’re on station they have a role. It might just be gathering people and getting them safely out of the building on a predesignated route.”

Although a quick response by Arapahoe High School’s School Resource Officer limited Friday’s attack to just 80 seconds, Graham said more frequent training at schools in general would better prepare schools for future incidents.

He said surveillance cameras and other new technology is great but not the entire answer.

“The big question in the industry is what are you doing right now to empower your people,” said Graham. “As a father listening to that radio, as these people are running up and reuniting with their kids, that’s what I think of. I don’t want to be that dad.”