WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Police practice school shooting drill

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- On any given Sunday, the halls of Southview Elementary in Chippewa Falls are quiet. But on Sunday, police re-created what could be the most chaotic scene any school could go through, training for the worst.

"Active shooters, armed intruders, suspected armed intruders or anything that requires a large law enforcement response," said Matthew Kelm, a Patrol Lieutenant with the Chippewa Falls Police Department.

It is something they do every year at rotating schools. But a month and a half after 20 students and six adults were killed at a school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, Sunday's drill takes on a new importance.

"Preparation is the key here, and school shootings just reinforce the need that law enforcement has to be prepared for this," he added.

We were not allowed to record the drill in progress, just the preparation leading up to it. 20 to 25 officers were expected to be trained Sunday, undergoing high-stress situations and multiple scenarios.

Even though police are making the event as real as possible, they are keeping safety in mind. None of the guns they are using are loaded, the rifles have been tied, and the guns are "F/X Simunation" guns.

Before the drill, a group of high school students prepare to help with the scenario. They represent a community program called SERT or "Student Emergency Response Team." They have trained to help out with an event like this.

"They go through like what they do, how we should react and how we can help others calm down if something like this happens," said Kailee Swearingen, who is with SERT.

An important part of helping police prepare and train for all situations, even the worst.


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