Mock shooting drill at Albany State tries for realism - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Mock shooting drill at Albany State tries for realism

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

October 22, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Incidents like that at Western Kentucky and the Virginia Tech tragedy highlight the need for college campuses to be prepared for violent attacks.

At Albany State Wednesday  they practiced what to do if a campus killer were on the loose.

Law enforcement says the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech changed Police tactics. No longer willing to sit back and wait, first responders know they have to move in to protect the students, putting their own lives on the line. So they hold emergency drills like this to be prepare, and they want them to be realistic.

On the Albany State campus, the sounds of gun shots, and students running.

Police cars rush in with sirens wailing, while a gunman uses a hostage for cover.  It was just a drill, but they wanted to make the drill as realistic as possible.

Albany State University Police Chief Roberson Brown said "It's all about preparation."

After other school shootings, Albany and Dougherty County law enforcement and first responders decided to put together strategy in case the unthinkable happened here.

 Chief Brown said "The shooting that happened at Virginia Tech and Columbine, we want to take those mistakes and issues that may have occurred, and learn from it. So if it every happens here we'll be more prepared."

So Albany State Police rescue wounded officers while under fire,  while city and county police move in to help. It's chaos as several wounded students lie on the ground around the building, and are also rescued.

A gunman with a hostage tries to escape, while the ASU Police response team moves in.

Albany SWAT arrives and finds the gunman dead, and rescues wounded students.

Brown says "Now we can critique our strength and weaknesses, to see what we did right, what we did wrong. We've have evaluators watching every move and videotaping it as well."

Albany State Students stopped and watched the drill, and some said they are glad the University is taking steps to keep them safe.

Sophomore Andrea Brown said "They really put us in the situation, and things to do, like running in a zig zag instead of a straight line. I feel like it was productive."

Training officers from all the law enforcement agencies, EMS, firefighters, hospitals, health department, and Emergency Management watched the drill, and now will work together on the good and the bad, and develop strategies for better ways to handle catastrophic emergencies.

Officials say they plan to hold more of these drills in the future.

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