Police training for classroom terror
July 22, 2008
Stalking the school hallways with guns drawn, officers from 15 regional police departments and government agencies participated in a two-day ‘First Responder to Active Shooter’ training at Truckee’s Alder Creek Middle School last week.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation-guided exercise provided real-time practice for responding to gun violence in public places such as schools or businesses.
The curriculum for the training reflected changes in active shooter response protocol in light of recent tragedies such as those at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Citing evidence that the majority of casualties occur within four to seven minutes of the start of the incident, new procedures expect first responding officers to immediately begin confronting and disarming the shooter in an effort to save lives.
The program included eight hours of classroom discussion with FBI agents and then eight hours of scenarios. During the simulations volunteer students with gunshot wounds lay slumped in hallways waiting for evacuation while ‘hostile’ subjects roamed the classrooms exchanging gunfire with officers.
Truckee Police Sgt. Dan Johnston stressed the importance of the exercise for the town of Truckee.
“We have a substantial student population for the size of our town. Nowhere is immune to this type of event. We want to train as an agency for the possibility of an event like this as they get handled much differently. Kids are getting killed horrifically. As a parent myself I want the police to be trained to be able to go inside and save my kids,” said Johnston.