FRANKLIN, Mass. - Franklin Police canvassed a local high school on Wednesday with guns drawn as a part of an active shooter drill.
The Franklin Police Chief invited Boston 25 News reporter Jessica Reyes and photojournalist Thomas Korsak to take part in the training, giving us a first-hand look into what police are facing when responding to active shooter situations.
In an active shooter scenario, every step an officer takes could be the difference between life or death. The drill at Tri County Regional Vocational School was just a hypothetical scenario, but the intensity was just as real as a real-life situation.
"We try to make it as real as possible but safely at the same time," said Lieutenant James West, who runs the training program.
Lt. West is not only a member of the Franklin Police Department, but also works with the regional SWAT Team METROLEC and is trained as a firearms instructor.
"The drills we did today were force on force training where we shoot back, the bad guys shoot back and it hurts,.that puts the officers under some simulated stress," said Lt. West.
For Wednesday's drill, Lt. West had officers search the building in groups of four and strategically search for the shooter.
The "shooter" in this scenario was another member of the department, and the ammunition they used is called "simunitions," which is similar to paintballs.
Once the groups found the shooter, Lt. West did a debriefing to go over what went well and what didn't.
"Think about what you have," said Lt. West. "We're chasing him running in circles as he's killing kids. we need to isolate him if we can."
The hope is that those involved in these drills will never have to use this type of training, but West says that training like this is more important now than ever.
As mass shootings continue to happen across the country, officers everywhere need to know exactly what to do.
"The quicker we can get in there and solve the problem, the safer the kids are gonna be and the public," said Lt. West.
The department has been doing these types of training for years, but update the drills every year. It lasts for two days each year.
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