Police see the need for active shooter training
Plans are now underway to fill a gap after reviewing area agencies’ plans in case of a mass shooting event.
Michigan State Police District First Lt. Barry Schrader told Branch County Commissioners, “The sheriff’s department, local chiefs, and I all had some discussions, and we’re going to have some joint training going on. This is unfortunately related to some events that have happened across the country.”
The training will focus on active shooter training and handling civil disturbances. State police are reviewing plans after protests last month in the shooting of a suspect in Grand Rapids.
“There hasn’t been really any interagency training,” Schrader said. With many local police agencies short-staffed, the lieutenant explained, “If something were to happen in the Branch County area, the initial response will be all of us coming together to handle it until we can get more state resources there.”
There is also a District Five response plan with other counties there to help.
Schrader said he is reaching out to local police and the sheriff for a time. Their training will “most likely be put on by the Michigan State Police Emergency Support Team. They have extensive training in this area. We reached out to them already. And they’re pretty much open for at any time.”
Sheriff John Pollack offered the older jail before fall demolition as a site. There is also the vacant Lakeland School the county owns.
“We also might even use one of the local schools.” without students, this would not be an all-out exercise. It would be more just focused on law enforcement at this point,” the lieutenant said.
“Later down the road, we might have a larger exercise that includes responding and fire EMS and things like that,” Schrader said.
As for the training to handle “civil disturbances,” Schrader said, “We do have a trainer here at the Marshall post. So we’ll be able to handle that.”
No dates are set.