Pharos-Tribune

February 25, 2013

Local police practice shooter drill

Drills held in schools help with officer response

by Caitlin Huston
Pharos-Tribune

— Area law enforcement agencies are working on active shooter training in the aftermath of recent school shootings.

Pulaski County and Starke County law enforcement agencies simulated an active shooter drill at Monterey Elementary School Saturday. Cass County law enforcement agencies said they also conduct the drills on a routine basis in order to prepare for the worst.

Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor said his department conducted a drill at Pioneer High School in January in response to the Connecticut shootings.

“We just thought it was very important with some of the school shootings going on to actually do a training,” Pryor said.

Though the department has blueprints of county school buildings, Pryor said actual reenactments of shooter drills help officers gain more of an understanding of the building.

“Sometimes it’s a lot easier to have physical knowledge of that building,” Pryor said.

In the drills, Pryor said they send two to three officers into the building at a time. They have other officers acting as the shooters who fire paint ball bullets out of Glock guns as well as AR rifles, according to Sgt. Kevin Pruiett with the sheriff’s department.

“It actually puts you in the closest shooting situation you can possibly have,” Pruiett said.

Like the drill at Monterey Elementary School, Pryor said the drills typically include students and teachers who observe to learn more about the police procedure.

The department conducts active shooter drills every year, Pryor said.

Bryan Hillis, assistant chief with the Logansport Police Department, said his department does the drills every other year.

He explained that only a few officers are sent in at a time during the drills because police procedure now dictates that the first officers on the scene should enter the building.

“The patrol response to active shooter has changed since Columbine took place,” Hillis said.

In situations where they’re the only officers on the scene, Hillis said officers are also encouraged to carry a “go bag,” which contains medical supplies, food, water and extra ammunition.

Both Hillis and Pryor said their departments would be conducting future drills at other school in their jurisdiction.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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