ASHLAND, Ore. — The situation was staged. The guns were artificial and the injuries were fake. Local police said, however, the experience and skills gained are very real.
“We just want to be able to respond to any active threat that would come onto a college campus or high school campus and be prepared for that, said” Ashland Police Deputy Chief Corey Falls.
Wednesday morning officers from several Rogue Valley law enforcement agencies teamed up with Southern Oregon University to train for a situation where an active shooter is in a dormitory on campus. Officers cautiously poured through the doors of the building while emergency responders arrived outside. Organizers said emergency situations can be unpredictable and the training was planned to have the scenario as realistic as possible.
“You’re going to have officers showing up at different times, so we just want to make it as realistic as we can to coordinate that response when officers show up,” said Deputy Chief Falls.
SOU officials activated a test alert to university officials’ cell phones via text message or voice recording. The scenario was practiced three times with a different agency and a different twist every time. University officials said they hope to never have to use the experience gained Wednesday but are ready to act if needed.
“We had to think on our feet, and we had to find out where the resources were that we needed at the time,” said university spokesman Jim Beaver.
After each drill, the agencies gathered to share what they learned and how to improve, should the real thing ever strike.
“We’ve debriefed those and talked about what we could have done better, so it’s extremely important to do these exercises so we can learn,” said Deputy Chief Falls.