Holder seeks $15M to prepare for shootings

Attorney General Eric Holder pressed Congress on Tuesday to approve $15 million in funding to pay for active-shooter training for police officers around the country in the wake of this week’s deadly shootings in Kansas City.

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In a weekly video message posted to the Justice Department’s website, Holder said an average rate of five active shooting situations per year in the United States between 2000 and 2008 has roughly tripled since 2009. 

The toll, he said, was in evidence Sunday at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas, where a gunman killed three people, and earlier this month at Fort Hood, where a shooting left four dead.

“As a nation, we must confront this alarming rise and all of its underlying causes — honestly, factually, and without regard for political consequence,” Holder said. “We must deal with these incidents whenever they happen — but, just as importantly, we must prevent them whenever we can.”

President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget request includes $15 million for active shooter training and other officer safety initiatives.

Holder said 50,000 officers, 7,000 on-scene commanders and 3,000 local state and federal agency heads have already received training through the program.
 
“This vital work must continue — but to provide training, we need adequate funding,” Holder said. “This critical funding would help the Justice Department ensure that America’s police officers have the tools and guidance they need to effectively respond to active shooter incidents whenever and wherever they arise.”

In his remarks, Holder also confirmed that the Justice Department has formally designated the Kansas City shooting a hate crime and would “do everything in our power” to bring alleged shooter Frazier Glenn Cross, a man with ties to the Ku Klux Klan, to justice.