Last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and recent active shooters incidents across the country have many concerned about their safety and the possibility of future incidents. With local law enforcement playing a key role in prevention and response efforts the Winchester Police Department wants the public to know how officers have been preparing for responding to critical incidents such as these.
Most recently the police department participated in two active shooter training exercises which provided scenario-based training to law enforcement personnel in a simulated critical incident environment. These drills took place in a local school and at a hospital. In addition, there are plans in place for a full scale drill in 2016.
Winchester Police Officers complete regular walk-throughs of City schools and monitor and critique school lockdown drills. Since 2013 the Winchester Police Department has trained all Winchester Public Schools staff on active shooter response and now complete training for all new school staff during orientation. That training includes how to respond to an active shooter incident and what the schools can expect from the police department’s response. We have partnered with the school system to review emergency plans and made recommendations to align those plans with the police department’s response.
The Winchester Police Department’s SWAT Team attended a week-long Department of Homeland Security First Responder Training, and members became instructors for Prevention of and Response to Suicide Bomber Incidents.
The police department has been working over the past few years to better equip officers with the tools needed to respond to critical incidents. Officers have received life-saving trauma kits which include tourniquets and other medical tools to assist with traumatic injuries and have received training on proper use and application. Officers have received critical infrastructure floor plans and the ability to access the buildings.
The police department hopes that preventive measures such as these help to ease public fears.
“We are constantly monitoring incidents both foreign and domestic to better prepare ourselves should an event occur here at home. We believe that we have made great strides in preparation over the past few years, however we feel we can always do more,” says Captain Doug Watson.
In preparing the general public, Captain Watson has presented a class on active shooter response to more than 1,000 local residents including a number of businesses in an effort to prepare residents if an event were to happen where they are. Captain Watson is offering this class to the public on Wednesday, December 9th from 6 – 9 p.m. at Shenandoah University’s Byrd School of Business in Stimpson Auditorium. To register please contact Amy Stotlemyer at email@example.com or call 540-545-4722.