Raleigh police will increase the number of officers in some of the citys most densely populated areas this weekend in the aftermath of Fridays early-morning shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater.
Officers will not focus specifically on movie theaters but instead will increase their patrol presence at malls, shopping centers and schools, said Capt. P.A. Niemann at a Friday news conference at the Raleigh precinct on Six Forks Road.
Niemann said there were some calls Friday morning from business owners asking about off-duty officers to bolster security at their establishments.
Meanwhile, Triangle theaters and moviegoers said the Colorado shooting which came during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises would not deter area residents from seeing the movie, which is the final installment in Christopher Nolans Batman trilogy. The film is expected to be one of the years biggest movies.
I doubt its going to have much of an impact, said Wesley Farrell, a manager at Mission Valley Cinemas, a small theater across from N.C. State University. Especially in an area like this were so small and right near the campus.
Two showings of Dark Knight at Mission Valley late Thursday drew 689 patrons, Farrell said. That compares to an average Thursday, when the theater might sell 150 tickets all day, he said.
Chris Dunn, a Durham native who now lives in Raleigh, was at Mission Valley for a Friday afternoon showing. He said the news from Colorado didnt make him nervous about seeing the movie here.
Some people are crazy, Dunn said. But you cant let it rule your life. You have to do what you want to do.
Use common sense
Patrons should use common-sense measures to protect themselves if such an event were to happen, said Niemann, the police captain.
Be alert to your surroundings, he said. Be aware of the contingencies you can take duck down or run to the nearest exit.
Its important to follow the instructions of law enforcement officers when they arrive at the scene, Niemann said.
If an officer asks you to get out of the building, get out of the building. The officers may direct you to a shelter inside the place, he said. You may be asked to evacuate, wait in a locked room or lie down.
The Raleigh Police Departments nearly 800 sworn officers are required to undergo a minimum of contingency-response training while they are recruits, Niemann said. And they must take additional training when they become full-time officers. The training focuses on planning and preparation before such a situation occurs, what officers should do during an event and procedures afterward to see what we could have done better, according to Niemann.
Agencies train together
The last large-scale training event occurred in May at the old ConAgra plant in Garner. The police department also took part last year in an emergency crisis drill at Dillard Drive Elementary School in Raleigh. During that drill, 17 law enforcement and emergency response agencies practiced how they would deal with disruptions and detours following a report of a shooting.
Its important to note that we train with other agencies, Niemann said. Its important that all of the agencies are playing off the same sheet of music.
Todd Russell of Cary was hoping to take in a Dark Knight showing just before noon Friday on the IMAX screen at Regal Crossroads 20 in Cary. (It was sold out, though.) He said he didnt have second thoughts about going to the movie after he heard of the shootings.
Id hope nothing like that would happen here, he said. But Im sure the people in Colorado thought the same thing.