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LMPD outlines plans moving forward to prepare for mass shooter situations; survivor weighs in

Chief Erika Shields explained what she wants for the department in the future, including more training and rifles to more offices.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From a grocery store in New York to an elementary school in Texas and most recently a mall in Indiana, we've seen a series of mass shootings across the country.

But how would Louisville Metro Police respond to a mass shooter in a building in Louisville?

Chief Erika Shields and department leadership explained to Metro Council how officers are trained to react.

Shields said when it comes to their response in terms of mass shooting preparedness she feels confident in their plan. She also said she was alarmed by recent responses from law enforcement in Uvalde, Texas.

"We're seeing so many more areas become targets," Shields said.

Mass shootings in schools, churches, grocery stores, the list goes on.

Louisvillian Whitney Austin, the director of Whitney Strong, is a mass shooting survivor.

RELATED: 'Systemic failures' in Uvalde shooting went far beyond local police, Texas House report details

"I had no idea how many times I had been shot. While in the moment," Austin said.

She agreed with the chief; the next mass shooting can land anywhere.

"For any agency who thinks that it wouldn't happen to them, that's arrogant," Shields said. "And you're not doing your community a service."

Shields said she pledges that her department won't be the type that sits and waits in a crisis, noting the response, or lack thereof in Uvalde, Texas.

"The Border Patrol failed, the DA failed, the marshals failed. I mean, it's nauseating. And so we have to be the best trained and know that we know what we're doing," said Chief Shields.

Shields wants to see more training, rifles to more offices and end the practice of waiting for four-man police teams before entering active aggressor situations.

"That has been out the window. That shouldn't even be in our policy and it is. People have to know, you have a gun and a badge and a vest for a reason. Get in there," Shields said.

RELATED: 4 dead, 2 wounded in shooting at Greenwood Park Mall in Indiana

Austin remembers arriving to work in Cincinnati 2018, talking on her cell phone, when she accidentally walked into a mass shooting happening in her bank building.

"I had been shot 12 times," Austin said.

Austin said the swift actions from law enforcement is what saved her life.

"I am alive because of the heroics of the Cincinnati Police Department but also because of the skill and training of the Cincinnati Police Department," said Austin.

She said she feels encouraged by what LMPD is pledging but also notes that it starts at the source, not just when mass violence happens.

"If we can recognize the warning signs and get someone help, we can not only prevent mass violence, but we can also help that person get back to a better place," Austin said.

For Shields, she said training is top of mind for her and her department and they don't intend to let up.

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