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Police participate in mass shooting training

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- West Virginia State Police Sgt. Greg Losh doesn't want to take any chances when it comes to ensuring the safety of Cabell County residents -- especially in light of recent mass shootings throughout the United States.

"You know this is not just a problem for the police or a problem that is for other parts of the country," Losh said. "This is something that we need to be ready to face in our own community, and we don't have the luxury of waiting to see how we work together if it happens."

That's why Losh and nearly 40 officers from six local police agencies converged at Davis Creek Elementary School on Friday night to run drills in preparation for a possible active shooter situation.

It was the first of what Losh said will be many more drills to come.

"I know for my area that I want to do this training at every school and for every retail space that we can -- anywhere where there can be a lot of people," Losh said. "I know the board of education has been on board with this, and we'd like to work with other groups to make sure our guys receive as much training as possible."

While local authorities throughout the state have blueprints and relevant information about schools and other public places, Losh said looking at a blueprint is very different from physically being in that place during a high-stress situation.

It is important to get as many officers from as many agencies to participate in the drills to make sure they are prepared not only to deal with the situation, but also with one another, Losh said.

"We don't want the first time our officers see these schools to be when they are in a critical situation," Losh said. "When something like this happens, you're going to get guys from all kinds of law enforcement agencies. My goal is for us to train in as many schools and public places as possible to give us the chance to learn about these places and to make sure we are able to come together if a situation arises."

In addition to West Virginia State Troopers, officers with police departments in Barboursville, Winfield and Hurricane, and deputies from Cabell and Wayne counties participated in the training.

During the drills, some officers were assigned to be victims or shooters while remaining officers worked to secure the building.

It was an important exercise for Barboursville Officer B.A. Copley.

"It was very realistic, and it was a reminder of how important it is to stay in practice and in training," Copley said. "It's important for people to know we are always working to stay on top of things to continue to secure their safety in any situation."

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