MARION, OH (WCMH) — More than two dozen Marion police officers received active shooter training Monday with a specific focus on “solo officer response.”
The training comes about a month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead. In that case, the school’s armed deputy took up a position outside the building during the shooting and waited. Deputy Scott Peterson resigned after he was severely criticized for not rushing into the school building and confronting the gunman.
Lt. B.J. Gruber says the Marion police protocol is for the first officer on scene to make entry.
“He goes in the door and immediately tries to intervene,” Gruber said.
This is spring break for Marion City Schools so it’s an ideal time for police to use Marion Harding High School for training. All afternoon Monday, screams could be heard in the hallways as actors played the roles of injured and panicked students. Then – the sound of gunfire as an officer confronts the “shooter.”
One by one, the Marion police officers went in. Sometimes, they got the shooter. Sometimes, the shooter got them.
“Like any other skill set – if you’re not training it periodically, if you’re not doing it consistently, it can wear off,” Gruber said.
The hope is that practice will instill confidence.
“Really reigniting in them that sense of purpose of what they got into this job to do,” Gruber said. “Recognizing this isn’t a death sentence on their part. We’re not asking you to go in there and just throw yourself. We’re going to use tactics, we’re going to use skills, we’re going to use knowledge that we have, use the resources that we have, the information that we have to overcome this and bring it to an end.”