Columbia Police to Hold Intruder Training Sessions

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department announced plans Thursday to host free training sessions on how to respond to an active shooter or intruder in a home, school, or business.  The sessions will take place in February and are in response to recent gun violence throughout the country.

Sgt. Joe Bernhard told KOMU 8 News the department discussed hosting such sessions ever since the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. due to requests from the public. He explained those requests then increased following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

According to the police department, the majority of requests came from schools and local businesses.

The training deals with the process of planning for and reacting to an armed intruder. Sgt. Bernhard said the two-hour sessions will focus on the decision making a person may have to employ in a crisis involving a shooter threatening to target people in the building.

The sessions will mainly focus on mental strategy and how to pro-actively prepare for the possibility of a shooting, but Bernhard said there will be a few demonstrations on how to physically fight off a shooter.

The first two training sessions will take place on Saturday February 2. The sessions will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Columbia Police Department Training Center located at 5001 Meyer Industrial Drive.

In order to accommodate a large number of requests for the training, each can accommodate up to 80 persons.

Bernhard told KOMU 8 News he has already had numerous people sign up for the event.

If you are interested in attending, contact Sgt. Joe Bernhard of the Public Relations Unit at 573-441-5470 or