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How Kent County Sheriff's Office works with FBI to prevent mass shootings

The lone wolf attacker is something they prepare for.

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Safety and security at events are on the minds of many following the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois during a 4th of July parade. 

There's no playbook on how to begin an investigation into a potential mass shooting, but if it's a domestic terrorism type event, that's when the Kent County Sheriff's Office would team up with the FBI.

Whether it's a 5-K run, festival or parade, the sheriff's office works with event coordinators to come up with an action plan.

"Critical incidents can be looked at both proactive and reactive," said Chuck DeWitt, Undersheriff of the Kent County Sheriff's Office. "The best-case scenario is they're able to prevent critical incidents from occurring." 

The lone wolf attacker is something they prepare for.

They have a detective assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force that teams up with the FBI to vet information that comes in.

"We have our detective bureau that would actively investigate and look at whether the threat is credible or whether it was someone that heard something that was taken out of context," said DeWitt. "But in addition to our detective bureau, we rely on the FBI and their assistance with the Joint Terrorism Task Force."

A crime has to be committed for an arrest to be made or there were steps taken to lead to someone actually doing a crime.

Challenges the sheriff's office faces when covering events include not knowing what the threat is or where they come from. 

"That's why we'll have law enforcement there. They may be uniformed or not. They just are mingled in the crowd." 

But DeWitt says if the community gets involved, 20 watchful eyes can turn into thousands. 

"Paramount is the community and if they see something that isn't right or if they hear something that doesn't fit the bill then we ask they call so we can start looking into that to see if it's a credible threat or not."

The sheriff's office's Community Policing division offers a C.R.A.S.E class which stands for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events. 

A group or organization can schedule training on how to respond to an active shooter situation.

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