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Sutherlin Police practice school shooting emergency response

AKLAND, Ore. (KMTR) – Training to stop a threat and keep children safe, officers with the Sutherlin Police Department spent Saturday inside a school teaching officers how to respond to an “active shooter” scenario.

About 10 Sutherlin police officers spent the day inside Oakland Elementary School, running through their rapid response and deployment policy as part of training.

Officers say the tactics used in the drill are some that they never hope they have to use, but they’re extremely important to be trained on.

“We don’t want to have second thoughts or second guesses when the incident is going down, we want to know exactly where we’re going and what we’re going to be doing,” said Sutherlin Police Chief Kirk Sanfilippo at Saturday’s training exercise.

Since 1996, more than 70 school shootings have taken place in the United States alone.

“What we want to do is have the officers ready and prepared, not only physically, mentally and their equipment ready to respond,” said Officer Vaughn Rains, a Master Officer with the Sutherlin Police Department.

“Now days it doesn’t seem like “if,” it’s just “when,” said Officer Rains.

While an active shooting hasn’t happened in Sutherlin, officers want to be ready.

“We need to be discussing and having a plan as to how we’re going to address it proactively as opposed to waiting for it to happen and then trying to figure out what’s our game plan will be,” says Chief Sanfilippo.

The drill took officers through weapons response. Officers also practiced with real guns made to only shoot paint-filled, non lethal, “semunition” rounds. Officers also practiced how to move through a building, learning how to communicate with each other and getting a feeling of getting in to “the worst.”

Sutherlin Police says the training is crucial preparation..

“Ultimately it’s making sure the officers have the proper equipment and training to feel assured that if they do go into an environment like this, they have a great likelihood of being able to stop the threat of innocent people being hurt or killed,” says Chief Sanfilippo.

The department also hopes the exercise helps give reassurance.

“I think it’s important for the community to know that your officers are prepared and ready,” said Officer Rains.

This is the second “active shooter” training event Sutherlin Police has done in the last year. They’re planning to hold another one of these drills in March 2013.

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