Multiple Agencies Conduct Active Shooter Training In Ontario

  • 8/16/2018 2:38:01 PM
  • Sartaj Singh
  • Local News

ONTARIO, OH - Multiple Agencies in Richland County gathered at Ontario High School to participate in active shooter/rescue task force training. 

The training was organized by the Ontario Police Department in order to have county agencies prepared if an actual active shooter or mass shooting takes place in Richland County. 

Additionally, the training was also a way to implement the Rescue Task Force, a unit that both finds the shooter, treats victims, and secures the area at the same time. Previously, departments would focus on only one or the other, but Chief of Police Tommy Hill says the new procedures of the Rescue Task Force will not only help them be more efficient in a shooter situation but also save lives as well.  

"We were accustomed to going in, going past victims of a shooting, and going to find a threat, taking them out, and then do a methodical search of the building and trying to treat them as we go." Tommy Hill, Chief of Police at the Ontario Police Department, explained. "The Rescue Task Force says let's go in, if we walk past a victim, let's push past them, clear the area, and even if the shooter has not been found, we bring police officers in with medical personnel and treat the victims immediately."

Multiple sessions were held during a 12 hour period. Each session starts off with one unit getting the initial call of shots fired at Ontario High School. The unit responds to the scene immediately while multiple agencies gather and prepare squads to be sent into the school.

Once the main unit entered the school, the sound of a recorded gunshot was played in a specific area of the school. The unit had to pinpoint where the sound was coming from, and investigate in order to find the shooter.

While the main unit is looking for the active shooter, police and medical units enter the building to secure the area and find victims. Once a victim is located, medical staff start treatment immediately. 

Police Units search through the school for both the shooter and any students that were found unharmed. If students were found, officers needed to make sure they are not carrying any weapons, in addition to making sure they are not injured. The uninjured students are escorted to a safe path out of the building, while the injured stayed to be treated by medical staff. 

During the exercise, communication is stressed. Units often relayed to each other which hallways and classrooms have already been searched and if there are any victims that need treatment. 

When the shooter was located, police quickly detained the shooter and gathered information on if there are any accomplices and if they are in the building. 

Outside, a drone from the Ontario Police Department took to the skies to find any heat signatures through windows of the schools. The drone also scanned nearby cars and trees to see if the shooter or any victim escaped from the building. The video from the drone was played on multiple screens in the command center vehicle outside the high school.

The extensive training was done to make sure that no matter what jurisdiction they respond to, agencies in Richland County are ready. 

"We wanted to get together as a county so that if we go to a different jurisdiction, we are all on the same page on how we operate, how we search a building, the tactics that we use." Chief Hill said. 

At the end of the day, Chief Hill says the training was done to ensure the community stays safe in times of crisis. 

"The reality of it is our kids are the biggest asset in our community.  We wouldn't be competent as law enforcement if we weren't here, we weren't prepared, and we weren't doing this training. " Chief Hill stated. "If we ever have a situation, you're only as good as your training is."

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