Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey Revises Active Shooter Awareness Message For Citizens

By  //  June 18, 2016

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'Our message is to survive'

ABOVE VIDEO: Sheriff Wayne Ivey discusses the 4 A’s to survive a active shooter situation; Awareness, Avoidance, Arm and Attack.

“Our new message for our citizens is based on the reality of today’s threat.” – Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey


BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA  – Earlier this week I stood at the scene of the most horrific mass shooting event in the history of our country. It was an act of terror that occurred relatively close to our community and an attack on humanity that none of us can comprehend or explain.

While the thoughts and prayers of our entire agency go out to the victims, their families, and the many first responders who have been impacted, this latest attack has caused me and other law enforcement leaders to rethink our approach on how we present awareness to our citizens while providing information that may protect them during an active shooter scenario.

I personally believe that the only thing that could make this tragedy even worse, is to fail to learn from it, and develop new strategies that just might save our citizen’s lives in the future.

In early December of last year I released a video titled “Enough is Enough” that asked our citizens to be prepared in the event of a violent attack or active shooter scenario. In light of recent events the time has now come to take preparedness to the next level

If you recall, during that video i told our citizens that the best law enforcement agencies in the country have response times in minutes, yet violent criminals can take our lives in seconds.

As such, our citizens are the true first line of defense for themselves, their family, their friends, and their co-workers in the event of a violent situation.

I can tell you that in virtually every attack or active shooter situation, once the incident starts, the calvary is coming, but history tells us that when they arrive they find far too many dead and even more critically injured.

Thats why it is extremely important to understand that if you find yourself in the middle of an active shooter scenario, your actions and the actions of those around you during the first 30 seconds of the attack may very well determine your chances of survival.

Traditionally, law enforcement has instructed our citizens that in the event of an active shooter or violent attack they should run, hide, fight.

Starting right now our agency is revising our awareness message for our citizens.

Our plan as a community and as a country needs to be if your can’t evade or escape the incident, then defend yourself and fight like your life depends on it, because it does.

Priority number one is your safety, the safety of your family and the safety of your loved ones and friends. If there is no other option for survival, fight to neutralize or eliminate the immediate threat.

I can no longer in good conscious coach our citizens to hide. If you cant escape or evade, then you have no other option than to fight – fight together, fight to survive!

This is America! A country that has stood against and fought some of the worst representations of humanity our world has produced. We didn’t become the greatest country in the world by encouraging our citizens to hide from evil. When we were forced to fight, we fought together to eliminate the threat and survive.

Our nation is based upon defending our freedoms and the protection of our way of life. We are a peaceful nation, but if you attack us we fight back.

Our new message for our citizens is based on the reality of today’s threat.

It is based on the fact that bad people don’t play by the rules, criminals do not fight fair, and they murder without hesitation.

If you cannot escape or evade, you defend yourself by any means possible. If you are in a group, then fight together.

Our message is to survive.

There is no doubt that an active shooter, regardless of their agenda or motivation, is a terrorist that is committed to creating fear and waging war against our society and our citizens.

In many active shooter scenarios, a number of victims were murdered as they attempted to hide, helplessly awaiting the arrival of law enforcement, while unfortunately, but realistically, waiting for the shooter to find them.

From this point forward, if you can’t avoid the violence or evade the threat, the next priority should be to defend yourself and fight.

The perception has always been that the option to fight is a last resort.

However, I am standing here today to tell you that there is no specific order in the options to save your life.

Be prepared to make difficult decisions in seconds while doing everything you can to save yourself and those around you.

Accept the scenario and understand that its the worst scenario imaginable! Your situation will dictate the tactics and direction you will need to take to survive

General George Patton once said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week!”

I personally believe that in an active shooter scenario, survival may be determined in seconds and every second counts.

Law enforcement has traditionally adapted to new methods and tactics to address threats, so it is only logical that we have to change our way of thinking on how we train our citizens to survive.

Essentially, its time to give our citizens the awareness and tools they need to be sheep dogs and not the sheep!

It’s also time that we send a clear message to the cowardly wolves who expect to find sheep. This is America, and the game just changed.

As we face attack after attack, its time to change our way of thinking.

There is no doubt that some things are out of our control. Even as good as our law enforcement officers are, they can’t stop every evil intention, and without question, will never be able to completely and successfully predict a mental health episode before it happens,

What we can control is how we prepare our citizens, how we inform our community, and how we work together to protect our nation.

I want our citizens to know that we are all in this fight together!

We are partners in protecting our community and while we are trying to get to the scene as quickly as possible to help you and those around you, you are the first line of defense until we arrive.

Moving forward our team has developed a new concept based upon the four a’s of survival: Awareness, Avoidance, Arm, Attack.

Always be aware of your surroundings, be prepared to avoid the threat if possible, arm yourself with anything that can be used to defend, and ultimately attack if there is no other option for survival.

It is important to remember that there is no specific order to the elements of this technique as each option either independently or used together may be your only chance to survive a violent event.


Do not wait for the emergency to happen to go into action, but instead go into action right now to save your life by being prepared. Know your surroundings and routinely ask yourself “what if?”


If possible avoid the attacker by running from the threat and escaping potential harm. When possible encourage others to run with you.

If you are unable to completely escape or evade the threat, then look for a place to securely barricade yourself and then prepare to defend yourself if you are found.


If you have a concealed carry permit and the venue allows you to carry your gun then by all means carry your gun and be prepared defend yourself. Remember, when the prey is armed the predator thinks twice.

As I have previously stated and I will state again, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun!”

If you have chosen a firearm to protect yourself and have not done so already, please sign up to take our “self defense through tactical shooting and decision making.” Please learn more about this course by visiting our website at brevardsheriff.Com

If you are not someone who is comfortable carrying a gun or find yourself in a venue that prohibits carrying a concealed firearm, then the next best thing is to arm yourself with anything in sight.


If you find yourself in the middle of a violent situation, quickly assess the threat and realize that your best chance to save your life and those around you may be to defend yourself.

Look for opportunities to attack the perpetrator, as they are not expecting you to fight back.

Work together as a team! There is strength in numbers and even the most prepared attacker is unable to overcome an attack that is coming from all angles.

In most cases the shooter is alone and unprepared for resistance. They expect you to run and hide, so resistance may be the one thing that saves your life and those around you.

In the coming weeks our team will be providing a new and very realistic training course that will be available for our citizens.

On behalf of our entire agency I want to thank you for taking the time to watch this important message and for sharing it with your family and friends. I ask you to remember that they can only defeat us if we sit idley by and allow them to do so.

I truly believe that they will never defeat us if we stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and say we have had enough!

In the immortal words of 9-11 hero Todd Beamer… Are you ready? Lets roll!

Earlier this week I stood at the scene of the most horrific mass shooting event in the history of our country. It was an act of terror that occurred relatively close to our community and an attack on humanity that none of us can comprehend or explain.