The Lee County Sheriff’s Office teamed with fire, EMS, and other law enforcement agencies to hold active shooter training at Germain Arena in Estero on Wednesday.
Deputies used special training guns and simulated ammunition to run through possible scenarios where they may have to engage a shooter in an environment like a sports arena. The law enforcement agency is always looking to introduce possible scenarios into its training according to Lt. Scott Lineberger, who said that deputies ran a similar course at Lehigh Senior High School earlier this year.
Bryce Hardin, who helps coordinate the scenarios, explained what the training focuses on.
“Responding to the active shooter when they get here, how to move up to an active shooter,” said Hardin. “What happens when if we have to actually engage the shooter and put him down. What happens if another incident is going off at the exact same time.”
Hardin said that the trainers are looking for certain criteria from the deputies as they complete the course, which weren’t shown to the media in order to avoid revealing the agencies tactics. At the end, they run down both what went right and wrong during the simulation and provide an open forum for trainees to ask what they can do better. In addition to the active shooter situation, deputies also go through a separate scenario that teaches them how to respond after an explosion occurs.
Lineberger explained that the decision on whether to fire their weapon during an active shooter scenario or try to find another way to resolve situation is left in the hands of the deputy.
“Our goal is to stop the threat. The longer it takes to stop that threat the more people die,” said Lineberger. “As long as that decision is legally, morally, and ethically correct, we tell them to make that decision.”
The integration of fire and EMS personnel has allowed the sheriff’s office to expand the realism of the training. Lineberger said that when a shooter goes down, that isn’t the end of the scenario. Victims may need to be rescued, they may need medical attention, a crime scene needs to be established so an investigation can take place, and by including other emergency personnel in the training, officers can be better prepared emotionally and psychologically for an active shooter and the chaos involved.
“The purpose of going through these scenarios is so the first time an officer is exposed to these conditions is not when they happen,” Lineberger said. “The first time they are exposed to them, we are in a controlled environment where we can make appropriate changes so if that incident ever unfortunately happens, we will be ready for it.”
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