Officer Jeremias secures active shooter, Photo by Devese “Dee” Ursery
By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Collinsville Police and Fire departments hosted the second part of active shooter training on Dec. 29 at a local elementary school.
The training is a collaborative effort between law enforcement and emergency crews to prepare for the event of an active shooter. Collinsville police ran drills that simulated police and fire departments working in tandem to neutralize an actual shooter and make sure victims are tended to and safe.
Larry Conley, Deputy Fire Chief of Training and Safety for the Collinsville Fire Department, explained the importance of this type of training.
“The active shooter training that we’re doing today gives us skills and reps on how to take down an active shooter, especially when you’re talking about joint efforts of the police and fire departments of Collinsville,“ Conley said.
Conley said that to sharpen skills is important, but another important aspect of the training is to save lives.
“When we work together it eliminates some of those unnecessary delays between taking down the shooter and getting hands on the patients as soon as possible,” he said.
The training is a continuation from previous training and brings firefighters/paramedics, police and Collinsville High School students together to practice real-life active shooter scenarios.
“A very well trained police officer can get and take the shooter down quickly,” said Conley. “But then the thing that really takes time and is just as important, if not more, is getting our hands on the victims and starting life-saving measures.”
Conley said that all of their firefighters are paramedics, and learning to work in tandem with the police can get them on the scene faster in order to begin life-saving measures almost immediately. Hopefully, this training along with other security measures, gives the community confidence that we are training to ensure the safety of their children when they are sent to school, he said.
Conley explains that with all of these things in place to keep children safe – teachers, the security systems and resource officers – unfortunately active shooters still get in. He says that because they can’t predict when it will happen, the solution has to be reactionary.
“When we react they should be confident in knowing that training like this prepares us so that we minimize the threat as quickly as possible,” Conley said. “As well as increasing our chances of saving lives, in turn minimizing how many deaths take place.
The training was put together by the Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission (SILEC). Glen Carbon Fire Department along with Collinsville Fire and Police Departments also participated in the training. CHS students also participated by playing victims in the training.
Collinsville Assistant Chief of Police Brett Boerm said this type of training is important not only in the case of a potential school shooting, but also for the citizens and business owners of the community.
“I think it’s important for our citizens and business owners because this type of situation isn’t just gonna happen at a school,” Boerm said. “It could happen at a business. It could happen anywhere in the city and we want our citizens and business owners to know that we take these types of situations seriously and will always be prepared to answer that call.”
Collinsville Police Officers and Firefighters secure and treat a student/victim in the active shooting training held at Summit Elementary, Photo by Devese “Dee” Ursery