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What Have Burlington Police Done to Prepare for School Shooting?

Last year members of the Burlington Police Department participated in shooter training at Burlington High.

As the nation reels from the news out of Newtown, CT, where a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School left 20 students and 6 dead, parents around the nation are likely wondering about the safety conditions of their children's schools.

In Burlington the schools are locked throughout the day and visitors must be buzzed in by the main office. Burlington Patch will be contacting school officials Monday morning to discuss any updates to school security in the wake of this tragedy.

We also thought we'd share this story from March, 2011, featuring members of the Burlington Police Department undergoing shooter training at Burlington High School during February vacation.

Police Conduct Shooter Training at Burlington High School

Sgt. Tim McDonough of Burlington PD explained the training, called Active Shooter Training and supported by a grant from the Community Oriented Policing office in Washington, DC, was part of a nation-wide program, started in 2000, to prepare all law enforcement personnel in how to respond if there is an "active lethal threat" to civilians or fellow officers. 

"If there is an active lethal threat anywhere in town law enforcement theory now is we engage with a contact team, normally three to four officers, and try to control the person and contain them to a certain area," McDonough said.

Prior to Columbine, McDonough explained, officers first on the scene would secure the outside of a building but wait for advanced weapons or a SWAT team to engage the shooter. That practice has seen been changed in favor of contact teams working to contain the shooter to protect others inside the building.

"While [police at the Columbine scene were waiting], people were inside shooting kids and killing them," McDonough said. "If you can contain them to a certain area, you save many people and law enforcement can deal with that threat."

To practice containing an active shooter, members of the department used the empty high school to run through scenarios. An officer donned a black outfit and eye protection and fired blanks off inside the building. Officer then moved in formation, equipped with Airsoft pistols and rifles, and went through the procedures to either contain or take down a threat. Each member of the force participated in the training with normally between seven and eight at the school per day. They ran through a variety of scenarios, including a gunman on the run and one who blocked himself inside of a class room.

For more information on the training and to see some a officers in action, click the video to the right.

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