Keeping Hallways Safe
Some Boone County authorities spent the day training officers for emergency situations in schools. Officers practiced their active training at Lange Middle School in Columbia.
Officers say the training helps them prepare for situations where lives are at risk. Participants started out with classroom training before moving into real-life simulations.
Authorities set up four different situations for participants to practice.
Highway Patrol officers, Columbia police and even the Boone County SWAT team participated in the training, which was geared at helping officers understand what to do in life-threatening situations.
"We're targeting active violence coming in," Sgt. Lance Robbins said. "We don't believe that it's going to be someone that just decides to pull into a school, 'Hey, I got a gun, there's a school, I'm gonna go kill people.' They've thought about it, they're going to target that school or a school for a specific reason and that's why we're dealing with that."
The simulations happened behind closed doors, but KOMU reporters could hear sounds indicating that officers were practicing for bomb threats and shootings.
"If I tell you that we are instantly going to evacuate then people that want to hurt us and want to go against us will plan for an evacuation," Robbins said. "If we tell them that we are going to lock them down in place, then they're going to plan for people to be in a fishbowl."
Departments across the county say this week's exercises are so important that they're requiring officers to attend. All 149 Columbia police officers will attend at least one of the training sessions.
"This is as realistic training as we can do as a scenario," Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm said. "We use what's called the sims: Training bullets, which means they actually use a handgun similar to what they carry and it actually does shoot a projectile."
About 50 officers, 20 teachers and four students participated in the simulation. Wednesday's training was the second day in a three-day training session, which continues Friday at West Junior School in Columbia.