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Police Try to Replicate a Mass Shooting in Training

February 28th, 2024 by Guest Communications

Written by: Emergency Management News Staff  

It’s difficult for police to train for an active shooter event because it’s so hard to replicate and there isn’t enough time during the year to do enough of it.

That said, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department did its best to capture the chaos of a real mass shooting incident in a drill recently, complete with the sound of gunfire from an AK-47, explosions, smoke, screams, blood and bodies — all fake of course but deployed to replicate a real-time incident.

The Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies across the country are trying to amp up training for the real thing because the next incident could be anywhere. And as evidenced by the events of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting in 2022, where 21 people died, including 19 children, being unprepared can be catastrophic.

But preparing for the unknown isn’t easy. “It’s one thing to describe chaos,” Jamie Wicker, provost of public safety education at Wake Tech in North Carolina, told Stateline. “It’s completely different to experience chaos. This is managed chaos.”

Officers responding to a mass shooting are often running, perhaps carrying someone. They see victims on the ground, maybe injured, maybe dead. It is extremely stressful and gets the heart pumping, which can be a positive thing, sharpening the senses, or a negative — tunnel vision, impairment of judgement, etc.

That’s why it’s important to try and replicate that environment in training with as realistic a scenario as possible. And agencies are doing that, but it’s expensive and there’s no way to get it 100 percent right. But law enforcement is trying to do the best they can to be ready.

“If we can provide these trainings that are as close to the real-life event as possible, you will actually induce that same kind of stress and the reaction that you might have during a real-life incident,” Sgt. Colin Hebeler, of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, told Stateline.

“If it does happen, we’re going to be prepared,” Hebeler said. “We don’t want this to be one of those catastrophic events that comes out on the news, and everyone says, ‘Well, the law enforcement messed up.”’

This article appeared on Emergency Management News and is shared with consent:

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