Local News: Cape PD, other agencies hold active shooter drill (7/16/22)

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Local News: Cape PD, other agencies hold active shooter drill (7/16/22)

Officers from the Cape Girardeau Police Department participate in an active shooter drill on Friday. Drills are held yearly in different locations to prepare officers for a real world scenario.

Beau Nations ~ bnations@semissourian.com

On Friday, personnel of Cape Girardeau Police and Fire departments partnered with other agencies to participate in an active shooter drill.

The yearly drill took place at Cape Girardeau Junior High School and prepares the departments for a combined response in the case of an actual emergency taking place at a school, business or other public space.

Police Cpl. Ryan Droege said it is good for the departments to hold the drill in a variety of locations so the personnel know how to react in different building layouts.

“All the buildings are kind of different. It’s good to know the different layouts and how they work. The larger-scale buildings, like the junior high building or wherever else we have been able to go, they are a good facsimile for any large building. They will all be similar in terms of multiple floors, a variety of criss-cross hallways, door structures, door layouts. Practicing in a large environment of any kind is going to help translate to any of the buildings,” Droege said.

Civilian volunteers acted as victims, suspects and bystanders as officers responded to real-world scenarios as they played out in the school. Students were not in the building at the time of the drill. Cape Girardeau teacher Stephanie Craft volunteered to take part in the drill.

“We’re really just here to help train the police, so they know what to do in the event of an active shooter,” Craft said. “The reason I signed up to do this is because I want to know in the event of a horrific event that these officers are comfortable coming and knowing what they need to do.”

The active shooter training involved three scenarios. Victims and bystanders were removed from the building as scenarios played out and were taken to emergency vehicles on site.

Droege explained the active shooter training helps officers get into the mindset in the case of an actual threat.

“This type of training is excellent. I mean nothing will ever simulate real-world, until the rubber meets the road, we don’t know how things are going to play out. The more realistic you can make it and the more often you can train, it just helps prepare you and teach you how to respond and teaches you what to look for so you’re not caught off guard,” he explained. “The first time you hear alarms going off, you see smoke, you hear everyone screaming and running around, if that’s the first time you ever see it in your life, you’re really going to be thrown off.”

Volunteer Megan Labruyere said it is important the police department holds the drills because guns are easily accessible in the area.

“I am a mom of two grade-schoolers. So, to know the officers are trained in this environment and to know my kids will be safe is important,” she said.