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Washington Capitol Employees Train For Active Shooter Scenarios

Austin Jenkins

Get out. Hide out. Take out. That’s the lesson employees at the Washington state Capitol got Wednesday in a class on active shooters. The refresher course comes in the wake of recent high profile shootings in the Northwest.

The sign on the door to the legislative hearing room said it all: “Workplace Violence Prevention and Active Shooter Survival.” About 50 state legislative and executive branch employees showed up for the lunch-hour training.

The message: if there’s a shooter, first try to get out of the building. If that’s not possible, hide out. Failing that, consider taking out the shooter.

"If he comes into the room, and you got nowhere to go, there’s 20 of you, got at him, take him, do the best you can,” said a SWAT officer in a video shown to the Capitol employees.

The training at the Washington Capitol was run by Andy Staubitz, a former police officer now in charge of security in the state Senate.

"We make people unhappy sometimes, and so from a security standpoint, there’s that less-than-one percent that I’m concerned about," Staubitz said.

Guns are allowed in Washington’s Capitol and there is no security screening to enter the statehouse or other legislative buildings.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.