Local law enforcement and paramedics partake in active shooter training

Over the last two days, there’s been a rather large presence of police and first responders at Western Kentucky University’s South Campus. It wasn’t because of an emergency, though. Well, at least not a real one, that is. Members of the WKU Police Department, MedCenter Health EMS and Bowling Green Fire Department came together to participate in an active shooter training exercise.

Mass acts of violence have become far too common in places in America, with active shooters continuing to enter schools and claim the lives of many innocent individuals, both adults and kids. 

"Students don’t go to school expecting to be victims of mass violence," said Tim Gray, Public Information Office at the WKU Police Department.

"It’s always an unknown and it can happen at any time," added WKU Police Captain John Bailey. "There’s really no one way to practice for it other than regular techniques that we know as law enforcement."

With the rise in these types of events, the WKU police, along with other local first responders, are learning how to work alongside each other to deal with these situations, ones that most of them have never had experience dealing with before. 

"Any time we can practice with other agencies, other first responders, is always a plus for us and the community," said Bailey.

"Getting this opportunity to partnership with fire, EMS, what not. It’s phenomenal," Gray agreed.

The active shooter exercise put two officers and two paramedics in a group and had them entered a staged scene, simulating how to deal with injured civilians in that scenario, how to evacuate them, and how to best communicate between the medics and officers when tensions are extremely high. 

"No two instances are the same," Bailey said. "Any time you can learn from one incident will always help with the next one. Everything’s always fluid. Whenever we do a training like this, we’re always learning new things. We’re evolving new techniques. And answering questions that we didn’t know beforehand until we had this type of training."

If a tragedy like this were to take place in Bowling Green, residents and students alike can take solace in the knowledge that these members of law enforcement and rescue will be prepared to handle anything that they encounter in this type of scenario.

"We want to make sure that if that situation does happen that we’ve got those kinks worked out on the front end," said Gray. "If we can work out those things now, and this is exactly what this training does. It gives us that opportunity to kind of sift through a lot of that."