Four deadly mass shootings over the years in the Denver area has prompted the Denver Elections Board to require active-shooter training for its all poll workers before the November 8 Presidential election pitting Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton.
Colorado is a swing state in this election cycle and also a hot spot between NRA members and anti-gun activists who have been fighting over gun legislation, especially since the Aurora theater and Newtown shootings came within months of each other in 2012.
Joe Szuszwalak, a communications specialist with the Denver Elections Division, said of the poll worker training: “It’s a component of our training process. We’ve been training them on this for the entire election season. We train them how to deal with a fire or power outage and this is one that has been added in to our training regiment.”
The Denver area has been hit with multiple mass shootings in recent history, including a 1993 Chuck-E-Cheese shooting that took four lives and injured one; at Columbine High School in 1993 where 13 were killed and 21 injured; the Cinemark Theater shooting in Aurora, which killed 12 and injured 70 during a midnight showing of Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises; and the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting last year that killed three.
“For the past four years, we have trained our full-time staff each year by the Denver Police Department. The City and County of Denver added an active-shooter training module because we thought it was important to share with our election judges (poll workers) given the amount of shootings there have been in the area,” said Amber McReynolds, director of elections for the City and County of Denver. “We believe in empowering our team members to be prepared to handle any safety or emergency situation that might arise.”
Gun violence has been a hot-button subject in the election and around Hollywood this year. In fact, it is the subject of at least three documentaries vying for Oscars this year, including Robert Greenwald’s Making A Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA, Kim Snyder’s Newtown, and Katie Couric’s Under The Gun. In addition, many celebrities have lent their voices and names in videos this year to promote reasonable gun legislation.
Editors note: The reporter’s cousin Micayla Medek was one of the 12 victims murdered in the Aurora theater shooting.