Learn to be prepared when the unthinkable happens with this free Active Defense workshop

Police respond to an active shooter at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. (Southside Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)
Police respond to an active shooter at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
(Southside Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)

VIRGINIA BEACH — No one could’ve predicted a tragedy like the one that unfolded in the Municipal Center on May 31 — we can only prepare to take a defensive posture when faced with the unthinkable.

On the day after the mass shooting, MPO David Nieves from the Virginia Beach Police Department was scheduled to teach an Active Threat Citizen Defense Workshop but the class was canceled as the community mourned the 12 who were shot to death.

Now, the class has been rescheduled and Nieves is ready to help residents develop a “survivor mindset” in the free workshop at Coastal Community Church on Aug.10.

Nieves developed the course and has taught it more than 250 times since 2012. He said attending could “make a difference for you and your family if something should occur.”

“Your life is much too important to leave up to the professionals,” he said.

In the 4-hour hands-on and interactive course, attendees who register can expect “RUN. HIDE.FIGHT.” training, plus a scenario-based practical exercise, self-aid for traumatic incidents, weapon seizure drills, and more with the aim to “enhance preparedness for citizens to rise to the occasion.”

Even so, Nieves said the course is only the foundation for learning to respond to an active threat with a survivor’s mindset.

“Use it as a stepping stone and continue to build on the principles that are taught with mental and physical drills and training,” he said. “Everyone thinks they will rise to the occasion but they will only settle to the level of their training.”

Residents can RSVP for the Active Threat Citizen Defense Workshop by emailing dnieves@vbgov.com.

For more information about the course, click here.

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Lucretia Cunningham is a multimedia journalist at Southside Daily covering hyper-local stories in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Her stories focus on public safety, tourism, and city government. She is a Virginia transplant and military spouse originally from Chicago. Lucretia also served on active duty from 2006 to 2016 and started her journalism career as a broadcaster in the Virginia Air National Guard. When she’s not covering stories on the Southside, she’s covering stories with her Air National Guard unit.