Victor-Farmington Rotary Club kicked off its May series of programs dedicated to recognizing the contributions of local law enforcement agencies with a program by Sgt. Mike Rago, of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.
Rago, of Hall, is a 14-year member of the sheriff’s department, and previously served with Penn Yan Police Department. He served as a training officer, and currently supervises the road patrol division. His wife, Tara, is president of Geneva Rotary Club.
His presentation involved the Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Situation program, which identifies certain actions a civilian could/should take if they find themselves in such a situation. The provided information is the result of studies involving previous active shooting situations and an analysis of those shootings.
The 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, became a precursor for other events that raised public concerns about what actions they or a member of their family might take to mitigate the potential for personal harm. Rago other mass-casualty events that provided law enforcement, educational and public safety experts a certain amount of tactical intelligence that may help prevent or reduce the impact of future events.
Nationally, the average police response time to a reported shooting incident is three minutes, but many last only a few minutes before they resulted in casualties. Thus, it is important that an individual take whatever steps they can to protect themselves.
Rago discussed lessons learned from past active shooting situations that offer guidance on how to react when facing such a situation. He reviewed topics such as the impact of locked doors, exit points, remaining in control and people’s right to defend themselves when their lives or safety is threatened. The entrance by which people entered the area where the event started is not always the best means of escape. These are all things that could impact individual safety. Locked or secure doors, where possible, may cause the shooter to move on.
This program was the first in a series of three Victor-Farming Rotary programs in May that traditionally coincide with National Police Memorial Week and National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The second program explored forensic science in criminal investigation with New York State Police. The third program, the annual Police Appreciation Dinner, recognized a state trooper and sheriff’s deputy for their contributions to the citizens of the Victor and Farmington communities.