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      Emergency responders stage active shooter drill for hands-on training

      The Kirksville Police Department along with Kirksville Fire and ACAD enter Kirksville High school during an active shooter training drill.
      Unfortunately, scenes involving active shooters have become too familiar. Training to deal with a situation like this has become a common security issue for police across the nation.

      Now the Kirksville Police Department is targeting that same kind of preparedness right here in the Heartland.

      No one ever wants to hear gun shots ring out inside a school, but it can happen, and it can happen in Kirksville.

      "We can never say never, it??s not something we're willing to do," Lt. Mark Wellman, of the Kirksville Police Department said. "We hope it never happens, but we are still going to prepare and be ready should it happen."

      That??s why KPD, along with the Kirksville Fire and the Adair County Ambulance District are working together to have a new plan in place.

      "In the past, we didn??t have a medical response until the scene was secure, and the current philosophy has changed. We are now taking officers that are heavily armed into a zone that has already been cleared by a pursuit team going after an active shooter," said Lt. Wellman. "We are now putting in the medical team in a lot quicker, usually within minutes of an incident starting, and we are getting medical treatment to the people."

      Thursday??s mock drill focused on entering a building with three or less people at a time, within minutes, officers with tactical gear made entry, secured the perimeter, which allowed first responders to come in and treat the victims, immediately.

      "In the past, they may have gone an hour or two hours without treatment and we may have lost people in the process from that," said Lt. Wellman.

      From maneuvering tactics to radioing in for help, when it comes to student safety, these officers and first responders aren??t taking any chances.

      "This is mainly a rapid response to an active shooter where we actually put in a pursuit team in and to go after the person that is shooting. The team goes straight to the gunfire."

      While no one can guarantee zero casualties or injuries, the best way to prepare for an event involving a gunman is to confront it head-on, with mock scenarios.

      "It has to be coordinated. It won??t work if it??s not coordinated, it would just be a disaster on top of a disaster," said. Lt. Wellman.

      All Kirksville police officers, firefighters and first responders participated in three rounds of live-action training that took place at different establishments in Kirksville.