Active shooter training increasing among police, sheriff’s departments

Thursday’s training exercise by the McCracken County Sheriff’s Special Response Team was planned before Wednesday’s deadly shootings in California.

Every month, the team runs through different drills and simulates any and all emergencies. Paducah police held an active shooter drill at Baptist Health Paducah last month. Capt. Joe Hayes said the mandatory training is the best preparation.

"Every officer goes through several days — a basic course — and then each year we have a refresher, and then we implement that and, basically, test it through the scenarios," Hayes said. 

Hayes said the drills, which are typically done twice a year, are becoming more common, with companies wanting to practice them with their employees.  "We’ve actually had a request, obviously, because of the things that are going on throughout the country. We’ve had a request more and more," he said. 

Hospitals not only handle treating the victims, but can be the scene of a shooting. At Baptist Health Paducah, Safety Officer Sheena Snow coordinates disaster drills with her staff at least twice a year. "We have ongoing education with staff.  All new employees are trained in these procedures," said Snow. 

Baptist Health monitors all threats and coordinates drills based on what’s called a hazard vulnerability analysis. Staff is taught to respond to mass casualty events like a bus crash, earthquake, tornado, or shooter.

"Sometimes they change, sometime they stay the same. This year, active shooter planning had definitely increased due to what’s going on in the country," Snow said. 

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