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Police, Fire departments conduct active shooter training

MARQUETTE — Marquette area police and the Marquette City Fire Department joined forces this week to train for active shooter incidents.

Police officers and firemen gathered at Marquette Senior High School Monday and Tuesday with masks, earplugs, victim dummies and blank rounds to run through three active shooter scenarios.

Training together builds communication and establishes roles in active shooter situations which will also increase preservation of life, said John Waldo, Marquette City Police Department firearms and tactics instructor and K-9 handler.

“We are incorporating the fire department into our response now so we can get them into the building to treat casualties a lot sooner than our old practices,” Waldo said. “We have to work together.”

Each scenario became more in-depth throughout the day. One scenario entailed a former MSHS student occupying the cafeteria as the active shooter. Small rescue task forces were then sent into the school to locate the shooter, secure an area for the wounded and finally send in the fire department for victim care.

While the police work with the fire department on a daily basis, teaming up for training adds a whole new dimension to how the departments will respond to an active shooter situation, said police Lt. Mark Wuori.

“It’s not just going in and stopping the threat. It’s that next step or the aftermath that nobody really prepares for,” Wuori said.

Neither department has had to respond to an active shooter call in Marquette, but being prepared is imperative to responding properly if the situation were ever to arise, he added.

“You can’t do it after something happens,” Wuori said. “You’re basically getting caught with your pants down if you’re not ready for it, and that’s not what we’re about. We want to take care of business and do what’s right.”

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.