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Active shooter training

Police hold training in empty school

An active shooter roamed the halls of Brockland Elementary School recently during a simulation that officers with the Lawton Police Department underwent as part of their monthly training. 

Each month, the department undergoes training on a different topic, ranging from mental health to defensive driving, and November's focus is how to respond to an active shooter. 

The training has been held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday this month, and everyone in the police force  from patrol officers to detectives  is required to attend one day of active shooter training. 

In the past, the department has hosted the simulation at different locations, such as Great Plains Technology Center, and this year, the location of choice was Brockland Elementary School, which closed in 2015.

Sgt. Tim Jenkins, public information officer, said the Lawton Police Department Tactical Unit organized the active shooter training, and members of the Tactical Unit pose as gunshot victims, panicked students and the active shooter who has a gun with semi rounds. 

Some officers have attended the active shooter training for 25 to 30 years, and each year, new tactics are introduced, Jenkins said. Throughout the day, officers are faced with a diversity of scenarios, and each scenario lasts 15 to 20 minutes. Officers must decide what actions to take in any given scenario, Jenkins said.

"(The active shooter) may be hiding in the ceiling panels. He may be in the basement. He may come through the door. He may have a hostage," Jenkins said. "He may be disguised as a teacher. He may be disguised as a janitor. He may be disguised as the mailman. He may be disguised as the caller. ... (We) treat everybody as a suspect until we can prove otherwise."

Dispatch may announce that there is only one active shooter, but when officers arrive, they may discover two active shooters. 

Officers must decide what actions to take next by gathering information and setting up a command post, just like they would in a real-life situation, according to Tactical Unit member Jeff McCoy. 

The members of the Tactical Unit who play the roles of active shooter, victims and students strive to create a hectic environment for officers, McCoy said.

The Lawton Constitution

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