Updated 03/21/2013 07:00 PM
Police train for active shooter responses
A week after police took down Kurt Myers in Herkimer, police from around the region are taking part in training aimed at helping them respond to similar situations. Our Barry Wygel was given a rare inside look at how police respond to a worst case scenario.
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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- "We tell the officers what the scenario is. For example, it's an office complex, a disgruntled employee returns and starts shooting, may have hit one or two people. One of the employees calls 911 and says there is a shooter in the building. The officers arrive and they deal with whatever presents themselves," said Bob Stallman, from the New York State Division of Homeland Security.
The officers in the scenarios use training weapons filled with fake bullets, but the participants treat it as the real thing.
"I feel that active shooter is something every officer needs to deal with, especially in our schools. You have to look at it this way, I have kids in my school, but every kid in Tupper Lake is mine. So even after my children have graduated, those kids are still my kids," said Tupper Lake Police Officer Wesley Hoyt.
The training focused on two officer responses, a change from training years ago, that officials say is more in line with what officers will face in the field.
"If we wait for four or five officers to respond, valuable minutes are lost," said Stallman.
The training also worked to mirror real life scenarios by mixing officers from different departments.
"Officers from several different agencies are going to respond and they are going to be working together, so we try and make that happen here," said Stallman.
And while the goal of this scenario was for police to deal with active shooter situations, they did learn hands on information that they will be able to use every day on the job.
"During their routine patrols, they find an open door of a business that they check on a normal basis, they have to go in and clear that building. The techniques we give them, they can use every single day," said Stallman.
Police say they hope they never will encounter a situation like last week in Herkimer, but if they do, they will be ready.
The New York Division of Homeland Security has been holding active shooter training for the past three years at the State Police training complex. This was the first time it was held in northern New York.