Preparing for the unthinkable

Active Shooter Drills give police officers valuable experience


by Marianne Morf

Learning has never been more intense at Sunset School.  Police officers spent Monday at the vacant elementary school involved in training to prepare for the unthinkable.  

Six members of the Clear Lake police force led an Active Shooter Drill at the school for approximately 20 law 

officers, representing eight agencies from five counties. An active shooter is defined as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and other populated area.  In most cases, active shooters use firearms and the situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. 

“None of us have ever been in a situation like this, but if you watch the news, it’s not that uncommon,” said Officer Cory Gute.  “It’s the world we live in.  We need to be prepared.”

The training sessions are held once each year, with a goal of  teaching what crucial decisions must be made in a crisis.

“We plan scenarios to train officers in the most efficient, fastest way to respond to a report of an active shooter and stop the threat,” explained Officer Cory Gute.  “We spend the first few hours of the training breaking it down to the basics-- how to move down hallways and enter rooms.  Then we spend about three hours doing scenario based activities.”  

Gute, along with officers Zach Hall, Chuck Bengsten, Jim O’Keefe, Dean Anderson and Tory Reimann are all certified active shooter instructors.  The men note the training is not offered as part of their Law Enforcement Academy training.  Each scenario the team devises is extremely realistic, with a number of volunteer citizens serving as role players and air soft ammunition fired.  The realistic sound of shots fired in the school also fueled the intensity of participants.

“I’ve gone through five trainings like this and I learn something new every time,” said Charles City Police Officer Bill Vetter.  

“It makes you think about different situations,” added Charles City reserve Seth Uetz.  “I think it raises everybody’s level of confidence after they’ve gone through it.”  

Participants said the basics learned at the drill help prepare them for a number of potential situations.

“We are practicing tactics which are used in our every day work,” said Gute.  “It teaches us to be - Read More Via e-Edition

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