Active Threat SOP for Big Hollow


Standard Operating Procedures 
for Active Threat at Big Hollow Recreation Area
Updated March 2023
152nd Ave, Sperry, IA 52650

This process should be utilized as a guideline for all employees and visitors who may directly or indirectly be involved in this type of situation. Full cooperation is expected during such an occurrence regarding safety. 

1-1    Purpose 
This document defines the supplemental Standard operating procedures (SOP) for Des Moines County Conservation employees while working at Big Hollow Recreation Area, Sperry Iowa. The procedures included clarifying to further describe the SOPs outlined in the Des Moines County Conservation handbook and providing consistency and uniformity when reacting to or engaging with an active threat in the park. This document also serves as a reference to record and govern changes to the County SOP. 

1-2    Scope 
This SOP is a living document, designed to change as environmental and operational demands dictate. The SOP provides standards and guidance for County Conservation operations.

1-3    Applicability 
The principal audience of this document is Des Moines County Conservation Employees. This document can also be used by County Trainers and other public officials to assess and enforce the standards within. This document does not apply to activities outside of the normal workday or to off-duty employees.

2.  Definition 
An active threat is an individual attempting to or is actively killing people in a confined and or populated area.

2-1 Shooting
Active Shooting is a person who meets the criteria for the definition in 2-1 and who is also using some form of a projectile that is expelled by explosive force. Usually, there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable, evolve quickly, and are often over within 5-15 minutes.

2-2 Stabbing
Active Stabbing is a person who meets the criteria for the definition in 2-1 and who is also using some form of an object to pierce another person. 

2-3 Bomb
An active bomb is when a situation meets the definition in 2-1 and is also using or portrays to use a container filled with explosive, incendiary material, smoke, gas, or other destructive substance, designed to explode on impact or when detonated by a timing mechanism, remote-control device, or lit fuse.

3. Location 
Location will be the actual place or natural area in which the active threat situation occurred. 

3-1 Big Hollow
Big Hollow Recreation Area is a Des Moines County recreation area. This 798-acre recreation area has a 178-acre lake, boat ramp, shooting range, multiple fishing jetties, and 39 camping sites. 

4: Handling an Active Threat
Employees must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active threat situation. Employees must know how to contain the threat and contact emergency personnel including law enforcement, ground medical, and MedForce Air Medical crews.  

4-1 Safety 
The safety of everyone in the park including park employees is the most important thing to keep in mind when in an active threat situation. The role of conservation is not to stop the threat but to decrease the ability of the threat to continue or to get away. An employee is not obligated or permitted to interfere with the threat if the preserved threat could potentially cause injury or death. 

4-2 Contain the Threat 
Since Conservation employees will be the first people on the scene and will have the best knowledge of the terrain, who and what is going on in the park, and what appears to be abnormal it is important that the conservation crew aid in the best of their ability to stop the threat. 

The key task that the conservation employees will be tasked with is shutting down movement in and out of the park and communicating with law enforcement and other emergency agencies. This should be done by positioning a vehicle at all access points of the park so that the area of operation is smaller. 

4-3 Self-preservation - Run  
In the situation where an employee is confronted by a threat, the employee has no obligation to intervene and should remove themselves from the threat or view of the threat expeditiously. 
In the situation where an employee has no option but to confront the threat the employee should only engage with the threat for the least amount of time possible and then they should remove themselves from the threat. 

The primary means of Self Preservation should be to run, drive, and swim away from the threat if applicable so that the employee is not endangered more. 
The preferred method would be for the employee to access a vehicle and removes themselves from the scene to a safer area and move to the closest access point. 

4-4 Hide
If the employee doesn’t have the opportunity to remove themselves from the threat then the employee should find cover, something that will block the threat from hurting them, or concealment, something that will stop the threat from seeing them.  

4-5 Stop the threat - Fight.
If the employees are in a situation where they are face to face with the threat and they cannot hide, and it is too late to get away the employee should attempt to stop the threat. 

The employee should attempt to stop the threat and keep as much distance as possible. If the employee can arm themselves with rocks, clubs, or any other form of weapon to use to protect others and their life the employee has the obligation to do so. This obligation extends to the point where the threat is neutralized and no further. 

5: Assistance of Emergency Services

5-1 Law Enforcement Duty
Law enforcement’s primary purpose is to stop the active threat as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the threat was last heard or seen. 

  1. Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment.
  2. Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns, etc.
  3. Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation. 
  4. Officers may shout commands and may push individuals to the ground for their safety.

5 -2 How to React When Law Enforcement Arrives
Your attention to law enforcement officers is vital for survival.

  1.  Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions.
  2. Put down any handheld items (i.e., bags, backpacks, jackets, etc.)
  3. Immediately raise hands and spread fingers.
  4. Always keep your hands visible.
  5. Avoid making quick movements towards officers or grabbing onto them.
  6. Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling at officers.
  7. Proceed in the direction where officers are entering or directing.

After the arrival of law enforcement, the priority of the conservation employees is to aid them in their job. The Conservation employee will assist them in containing the injured, directing traffic, and keeping people and vehicles out of the crime scene. At no point will the employee reenter or contaminate the crime scene till law enforcement has given the okay to proceed.

5-3 Information to Provide Emergency Responders or 911
Accurate and relevant information to law enforcement is vital for active shooter mitigation and can be provided to on-scene police or 911.

  1. Location of the active threat 
  2. Number of active threats. 
  3. Physical description of the threat. (Clothing, height, weight, hair color, type of weapon, number of weapons, and description 
  4. Number of potential victims at the location

NOTE: Arriving officers will not stop to help injured persons, their initial response is to stop the active threats, so be conscious of this. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and other emergency medical personnel to follow the initial responding officers. The medical rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may call upon able-bodied individuals to assist them in removing the wounded from the premises. Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by first responders until the situation is under control and secure and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. DO NOT leave until released by law enforcement authorities. At this point, all county conservation employees are obligated to assist in any way possible. 

6: End State

6-1 Aftermath 
After the scene has been cleared and Conservation Employees have been released, employees should attempt to get themselves and the visitors of the park all of the resources they need to grieve and heal from the threat. 

In situations of missing relatives or friends, employees should give all guests information on how to contact assisting agencies that may have more information. 

6-2 Media 
At no point should an employee, unless specifically authorized to do so, communicate with the media, to voice their opinion as the opinion of the organization. If an employee is contacted to make a statement the employee should point the interviewer to the Conservation Director or the designated point of contact for media communications.

-End of SOP-

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