Nestled amid the serene beauty of Mill Valley, the community has experienced moments that have starkly contrasted with its peaceful ambiance. In 2018, residents were urged to shelter in place following a violent dispute between a tenant and his landlord just east of the Camino Alto-Blithedale area. Another poignant incident in early 2020 saw Tam High School locked down after reports of a youth brandishing what seemed like an assault rifle. Thanks to the swift action of local law enforcement, with assistance from surrounding jurisdictions, it was soon discerned that the individual was a former student filming with a prop weapon for a music video. These episodes serve as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of threats and the necessity for readiness.
To equip residents with the tools and knowledge to respond effectively, the Mill Valley Police Department (MVPD) conducted an active threat training session at the library on September 11, 2023. Spearheaded by Sergeant David Kollerer and Corporal Mitchell Kofford, the training deepened attendees' understanding of the FBI's criteria for active threats. While the agency primarily views active threats as situations where individuals, typically armed with guns, seek to harm others in populated areas, the spectrum also includes individuals with other lethal weapons, those exhibiting mental health-related erratic and violent behaviors, and serious cases of road rage.
Approach Public Spaces with Situational Awareness
Observe: Be alert and mindful of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with potential exits and hiding spots in public spaces.
Orient: Adapt to or remove yourself from uncomfortable scenarios.
Decide & Act: Make decisions based on the situation and always trust your intuition.
For potential active shooter situations, the central advice revolved around three core principles: Run, Hide, Fight. Moreover, insights on how to best interact with arriving officers were provided to ensure efficient coordination and safety during such events.
Wrapping up the presentation, participants were reminded of their own roles in maintaining community safety. "Be observant, formulate a plan, and always prioritize safety," stressed the MVPD officers.
More Resources on Active Threat Preparedness
For those seeking more detailed guidance, the Department of Homeland Security has an array of resources available.
Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigations provides more extensive statistics on active shooters in the United States. View the FBI's "Run, Hide, Fight" video.
The Mill Valley Police Department remains a steadfast partner in community safety and urges residents to approach them with any queries or concerns. Above all, the MVPD is unwavering in its commitment to safeguarding the well-being of every Mill Valley resident.