By Greg Ellison
(Oct. 3, 2019) Helping residents understand how to counter random acts of violence is the intent of a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training class hosted by Worcester County Commissioner Chip Bertino, in conjunction with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday, Oct. 17.
The CRASE training will be held at the Ocean Pines library starting at 6:30 p.m.
“This is the first time I’m hosting an event like this,” he said. “The sheriff’s office offered it earlier in the summer and my wife and I attended that class.”
In addition to obtaining active shooter training through the Maryland Association of Counties, Bertino said after recently attending the class offered by the sheriff’s office, it seemed appropriate, in light of the seemingly endless string of random public shootings, to provide Pines residents with the strategies for survival.
“I think people like to feel empowered as best they can, and given how engaged the Ocean Pines community is, it seemed like something that could be of interest to a fair number of people,” he said.
The course, which will run nearly two hours with a lecture and video presentation, incorporates “avoid, delay and defend” strategies.
“It really gives those in attendance something to think about,” he said. “It gives you more situational awareness.”
After attending the CRASE class with his wife this summer, Bertino said the couple has a better understanding of how to remain safe in public locations.
“You’re much more aware when you’re in a public place where the exits are and what your surroundings are like,” he said. “The most important thing you get out of it is situational awareness and not having a sense of being powerless.”
Bertino expressed gratitude, tinged with remorse, for Sheriff Matthew Crisafulli agreeing to bring the class to Ocean Pines.
“Unfortunately, it’s the world in which we live,” he said.
While not mandatory, attendees are encouraged to RSVP by emailing Bertino at email@example.com or calling 443-783-3248.
While acknowledging unpleasant realities is troubling, taking proactive measures is necessary to combat potential terror, Bertino said.
“It’s very difficult now to turn on the news without seeing something that happened in a community or a shopping mall,” he said. “Although we can’t stop those things ourselves, we certainly can take charge of how we may respond.”