Fire crews joined nearly half dozen police departments for active shooter training

Dan Wing
November 17, 2018 - 5:32 pm

Dan Wing/KYW Newsradio

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NEW JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) -- More than a half dozen police departments and a handful of fire and emergency rescue crews took part in an active shooter training session in South Jersey Saturday morning.

The event at the Pennco Tech School, in Blackwood, was hosted and organized by the Gloucester Township Police Department.

With a mobile command unit set up in the parking lot, and Camden County Community College students acting as victims, the event was designed to be as realistic as possible.

Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer said that goal was definitely accomplished.

"There's people injured, there's folks screaming, there's noise, there's sounds of bullets and gunfire,” he said. “So there's a lot happening."

Afterwards, Mayer said he was impressed with how the officers handled the chaos inside.

"I have complete confidence in our emergency management sector here in Gloucester Township, in our public safety personnel,” he said. “They do a great job."

Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle agreed. While Earle says his officers have trained for situations like this before, this was the first time the fire and rescue crews were involved which he thought was very insightful.

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"That opened our eyes a lot to different tactics we want to move forward with, even improve upon and be even more prepared," he said.

Lt. Chris Crabtree of the Gloucester Township Police Department organized the training, and wanted to really convey the chaos of an active shooter situation.

Crabtree says one of the biggest challenges when responding to an active shooter is maintaining effective and efficient communication, which makes it a critical part for officers to get a handle on.

"When you have multiple jurisdictions responding to these, you have radio issues, you have each agency is trained a little bit different than another agency,” he said. “So it's really, really tough to have a seamless or successful event without training for it in advance."

While all of the officials involved hoped they would never have to deal with an active shooter situation, they realize that these incidents are a sad reality of the world we live in making drills like this all the more necessary.