PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) – Portage police went through annual tactical training Sunday night at The Crossroads mall to prepare for the possibility of an active shooter situation.
The training has become crucial at a time where officers are facing exceedingly more extreme situations as mass shootings have become an unfortunate reality.
During the training, police worked on how to address an active threat inside the mall while staging a triage center to treat those wounded in the incident.
Officers say this kind of training is vital to keeping their skills sharp and being able to work with the community during tragic events.
“Both fire and police, they have to react quickly and it’s important that you practice, you critique and you make adjustments,” said Portage Police Chief John Blue.
First responders came out of the building one at a time, some having to carry the volunteers posing as shooting victims in the exercise.
“We have to address the threat that is at another location in the mall,” Blue said. “That’s where things are active, there’s an active assault that’s going on and officers have to go in and neutralize that threat or contain it.”
After the threat was neutralized, responders focused on triage. Each volunteer was given a different level of injury to portray as responders worked through evaluating patients.
“What we’re focusing on today is that very important first 20 minutes to half hour of incident event management,” Blue said.
The training also helped teach mall staff how to work with officers during a chaotic scene like the one in the exercise.
“It’s important for us to be proactive in making sure that we’re partnering with local authorities to make sure that we have the safest response as possible,” said Charisse Stewart, general manager of The Crossroads.
Portage Police Department takes part in the exercise every year.