Police hold active shooter session for Brampton and Mississauga churches, temples and mosques


Published March 15, 2023 at 12:00 pm

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In the wake of violent attacks on mosques around the world, police are holding an active shooter information session for places of worship in Brampton and Mississauga.

The session, scheduled for April 5, combines the Run Hide Defend program and P.R.E.P. (Police Emergency Response Plan). This session particularly targets leaders or staff in places of worship but anyone can sign up. 

The sessions have been held for large businesses in Peel such as Amazon and Canadian Tire, Peel Regional Police Acting Sergeant Vito Pedano tells insauga.com.

Pedano said this session for places of worship was in the works before recent vandalism on Hindu temples in Brampton and Mississauga.

There was an attack on Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga on March 19, 2022. A man entered the mosque and discharged bear spray toward the members of the mosque while brandishing a hatchet. But there haven’t been any active shooter attacks on places of worship in Peel, Pedano said.

However, after shootings in mosques in Quebec City in 2017 and New Zealand in 2019, police decided to hold a session for places of worship, Pedano said. The session was delayed by pandemic lockdowns, he added.

“Right now, what’s happening all around the world with places of worship being targeted….(the session) can get them more prepared,” Pedano said.

Run Hide Defend prepares businesses and organizations for an active attacker – defined as a person who may want to hurt or kill people in a small or crowded area, the Peel Regional Police description reads.

“Just to have a knowledge of what to do in a situation of an active shooter,” Pedano added.

The likelihood of being involved in an active attacker situation is minimal but preparation could increase chances for survival, police add.

Active attacker incidents are highly unpredictable, escalate quickly and require quick decision making. The program runs through a plan to run, hide or, as a last resort, defend yourself.

P.R.E.P. is a program where businesses or organizations can register themselves with police. The organization provides a floor plan, detailed site plans and other information to police so if officers need to respond to an attack, they have a better knowledge of the business or organization.

This is similar to the program Peel Regional Police have with schools — so officers know the layout of the school when responding to an emergency.

The April 5 session starts at 7 p.m. and is about three hours. To register, email [email protected]

Visit Run Hide Defend and P.R.E.P. on the Peel Regional Police website for more information on the programs.

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