Harrisonburg Police Department and other local agencies hold active shooter training

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 10:36 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Tuesday, the Harrisonburg Police Department along with other surrounding departments participated in the annual active shooter training.

”As we’ve seen across the nation, it’s the first officer on the scene, he or she has to be ready,” Chief Kelley Warner of Harrisonburg Police Department said.

According to Chief Warner, HPD has been doing this training since the Columbine school shooting in the late 90s. She said it has become essential to local officers.

“We’ve gotta sharpen our sword. We’ve gotta be ready because it could be just the next call,” Chief Warner said.

Although HPD has been doing active shooter training for years, it seems more important now than ever.

“It really makes a difference for officers to be on sight in a school in the event that tragedy might happen. That’s the best way they can be trained,” Dr. Michael Richards of Harrisonburg City Public Schools said.

The training puts officers through high-intensity situations where their stress will be high to best train for a proper response.

“We put them through scenarios that get their blood pressure up so they’re actually experiencing that and responding to just like they would a real-life scenario,” Chief Warner said.

There were trainers to provide feedback and constructive criticism to officers on how to improve these scenarios.

“I see the officers getting the training with the trainer right behind them telling them you could’ve done this, maybe think about that I see them working together,” Dr. Richards said.

It’s something no one wants to happen, but school officials and police department heads are glad local officers have this training.

Chief Warner said through the support of Harrisonburg City Council, HPD has two full-time officers dedicated to training.

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