Police focus on latest tactics in active shooter training

Roanoke County officers go through simulations this week

ROANOKE, Va. – Local police are making sure they know what to do in case of an active shooter situation, as departments all over the country continue to focus on preparing for the worst.

Roanoke County police officers are going through training this week at Glenvar Middle School. The tactics they're brushing up on can apply to offices and other types of buildings and scenarios.

The officers leading the training hope that this kind of preparation will allow these men and women to handle the stress and pressure these situations bring.

“Active shooter situations are going into almost every aspect of the community. Not only are they happening in schools, they're happening in churches, office complexes,” said Allen Hodges, a Roanoke City police officer.

Officers get this training at the academy, but for many, that was at least a few years ago.

“It’s extremely important, especially with some of our older officers to brush up on some of the tactics required in today's world when it seems like these unfortunate events are happening more often,” said Chris Brown, a Roanoke County police officer.

It’s been a few years since Roanoke County has done this extra training, outside of its normal exercises.

“We want to see what their decision-making process is going to be with all this getting thrown at them at once,” Hodges said.

Hodges is helping with the county officers’ training this week. Officers are hoping that the collaboration can improve the ability for the city and county police to work together in tense moments like these.

They said with each new tragedy, tactics are always changing. One area they're focusing on is when only one officer has arrived at the scene.

It started with Columbine, but tragedies like the Parkland, Florida, school shooting showed the importance of the first officer entering the building.

“Now you have a solo response. The first officer on the scene gets to the door, goes in by himself, goes down the hallway and he’s in search mode,” Hodges said.

The pressure can be high.

“All of them are cool with it. They know what they're signed up for,” Hodges said.

Businesses can request active shooter training from Roanoke city or county police. Hodges said more and more churches are requesting training after recent church shootings and threats against churches.

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