Over 120 Suffolk police officers train for active school shooter response
Suffolk County police used the site of a former elementary school in Lake Ronkonkoma to hold an active shooter drill Wednesday.
Gatelot Elementary School is now empty, but officers were there for training on what to do if a shooter enters a school.
Officers taking part in the drill didn't know what they were going to encounter as they walked down the hallway. As they opened each door, they were met with a different situation, including face-to-face conflict with an active shooter. For the drill officers used simulated ammunition called "simunition."
"I want to make sure that we are squared away going through drills, making sure we are covering each other's backs entering a classroom and coming into the school with a team effort to be able to stop the threat in a moment’s notice," says Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.
Deborah Williams, of Nesconset, teaches in the Copiague School District and says she is happy to see police receive this type of training.
"I think it's a good thing, I think we should be prepared for situations like that because you never know when something is going to arise," Williams says.
Suffolk police say they hope they never have to use these skills, but want to be prepared.
"Unfortunately, we have seen too many copycats," Harrison says. "We will be prepared if something does happen, where there is an active shooter or violence, if that happens anywhere in this county."
Over 120 officers were trained Wednesday and Harrison says more will be trained to be ready for the next school year.