MANCHESTER – The brutal killings in Paris and San Bernardino, California are just some of most recent attacks that are driving potentially life-saving conversations about active shooters. Specifically, how police are training to handle these situations and what we all can do to increase our chances of survival.
“The first thing that ran into my head is how is Manchester going to deal with this?” Officer Nathan Linstad of the Manchester Police Department said.
In part one of our two-part series, “Training Day” – we show you how the Manchester Police Department is preparing officers for an event they hope never happens.
“You have to be ready as a city, and as a state and as a country,” Linstad said.
A middle school in the city of Manchester, closed for winter break, was ground zero for one of the Manchester Police Department’s most critical and timely exercises: Active Shooter Training.
“In a school, using actual classrooms, so you’re seeing the kids’ drawings on their desks, and you’re seeing the drawings up on the walls, and you’re trying to get that full effect of the training,” Linstad said. “You’re not just training for your child, you’re training for everybody’s children.”
On this day, 25 officers were wearing helmets and body armor, armed with modified handguns or rifles designed to shoot paint balls, search for active shooters played by SWAT team instructors.
“We try to make it as realistic as possible,” Linstad said. “We try to get people’s heart rates elevated. We try to give them a little bit of an adrenaline rush, because that’s real. Each officer plays both a good guy and a bad guy. You want to see it from the opposite angle.”
The training is intense, aggressive – and fast – because the average active shooter situation lasts just three-to-five minutes.
“It’s a long time if you’re in that building, but it’s not a lot of time if you’re calling a SWAT team, so that patrol officer, or the school resource officer, or the detective that is out on the street at the time, they’re more than likely going to be there within that three minutes, so they’re going to have to deal with the situation,” Linstad said.
If they can’t, lives – many lives – can be lost.
“If you enter a building and you hear shots being fired, you have to understand that each bullet represents a life. A life could be taken for every shot,” Linstad said.
We recorded a lot of video for this story – video the Manchester Police Department asked us for, so they can use it as a training tool so they can get even better.
On Friday night, we’ll show you how the department is offering training for local business and organizations that want to better protect their employees.
It’s truly information that can help protect you and your family.