KPD says its prepared for incidents like mall shootings

KPD prepared for incidents like the Oregon mall shooting

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"You know you can never stop any type of an attack like that if someone plans it out, you can do your best to try to prevent it," explained Darrell Debusk, Knoxville Police Department spokesperson. "You know you can never stop any type of an attack like that if someone plans it out, you can do your best to try to prevent it," explained Darrell Debusk, Knoxville Police Department spokesperson.
One key piece of security is the KPD sky watch towers set up in the mall parking lots. One key piece of security is the KPD sky watch towers set up in the mall parking lots.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A mass shooting at a mall in Portland, Ore. left two dead and now has local law enforcement on high alert.

"You know you can never stop any type of an attack like that if someone plans it out, you can do your best to try to prevent it," explained Darrell Debusk, Knoxville Police Department spokesperson.

Mass shootings like the one in Oregon create hyper-awareness for local law enforcement but KPD say it's something they're well trained for.

"We talk about the layout of the facilities, we talk about the facilities and the unique challenges a facility like that presents to law enforcement and security, and we make the officers aware of the plans and we train for scenarios like that," DeBusk said.

Throughout the year, but especially during the holidays, KPD works with mall security to ensure the safety of the guests.

"We regularly meet with them and talk to them, discussing concerns they have and making suggestions on safety concerns of that nature," Debusk said.

Simon Mall spokesperson Les Morris said security is a top priority for the company that owns West Town Mall and Knoxville Center. He said they utilize a combination of security guards and local law enforcement to provide the highest security for their guests.

One key piece of security is the KPD sky watch towers set up in the mall parking lots.

"It can be monitored in and out through the day or night and that gives us a lot of detailed information that we need if something should happen," explained DeBusk.

KPD has experience with shooting incidents at local malls, including an officer-involved shooting at West Town Mall in November, and in 2008, a shooting at Knoxville Center Mall.

But DeBusk says these were very different scenarios.

"The incidents we've experienced have been targeted, targeted individuals, nothing to the point of what we've seen [in Oregon.]" said DeBusk.

While police may not be able to predict an attack like Tuesday's, there are keys to preventing one. 

"One of the best prevention methods is if the public sees something that look suspicious, don't let it go," said DeBusk. "Don't turn your head and walk away, take a second to call 911.

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