ELDRIDGE, Iowa (KWQC) - The Eldridge Police Department teamed up with the Rescue Task Force to get some active shooter training over the past few days.
Organizers of the Rescue Task Force say trainings like the ones they've had the past few days are important for all agencies to cover, because that hands on experience is what you'll need most when it comes to an active shooter situation.
When an active shooter situation happens, more than one agency is going to respond and help. Making sure they're all trained together is important.
“They've never actually gotten to work and train together, so a lot of them find out they're in the same boat,” said first responder and Rescue Task Force worker, Brock Lemmon. “They may be lacking in the same areas, they may excel in the same areas. Getting everybody training together helps everybody see that we're all the same really, this is what we're faced with and this is what we're going to do to overcome it.”
Organizers say unfortunately, having an active shooter experience is usually what it takes to get this type of training to happen.
“A lot of times for other departments and agencies, it takes an event like that for them to realize they could definitely be better in this area,” Lemmon added. “So, they start reaching out to third parties to get everybody on the same page.”
But, the hands on, real-life training is what's going to have these agencies prepared for the worst situation - not just some testing.
“Some of the Sheriff's Deputies that were responsible for acting for Parkland, they had been through an 8 hour, administrative, check-the-box rescue task force course,” said the director, Edwin Lard. “That's one of the problems with what we've seen, departments go, 'Hey we need this training.' So, they send 80 guys and girls to a class to check that box - well now we see what that does.”
Making sure the simulation is as real possible is what's going to pay off in the long run.
“It's okay if you don't feel you can cross a threshold, make entry into a hallway, with a shooter and a sheet full of kids in the background, and take a shot,” said Lard. “It's unrealistic to think that anyone, unless they've trained and trained, is going to be capable and confident in doing that.”
There were also students involved in the training. They were there to benefit the first responders in their training, but they also were able to watch the simulations up close and receive tips like how to use tourniquets and what steps to take to make sure they are as safe as possible.