Moon-Area Military, Police Prepare to Deal with Live Gunmen

Area first-responders prepare to deal with live shooters at a training course at Robert Morris University.

It's all about being ready for the worst, according to Findlay Township Police Capt. Mark Joyce. 

Police from Findlay, and other local law enforcement agencies yesterday trained to respond to a gunman opening fire in a building or public space.

"What would you do if you were a high school student or a college student and a shooter entered a building?" said RMU Police Chief Randy Mink. "You'd probably want to run. This is going to teach law enforcement to handle that situation."

The active-shooter training exercise at  included police from more than a dozen different agencies as well as personnel from the United States Air Marshals office, the 911th Airlift Wing and the 171st Refueling Wing.

"This also includes the military and air marshals," Joyce said. "We want to train everyone to respond the same way to a situation.

"It's so important that first-responders are ready to handle that situation," he said.  

The law enforcement officers trained by acting out real-life scenarios, using paintball guns to simulate ammunition, Joyce said. Collier Police also offered a presentation on the 2009 shooting at an LA Fitness Center in the township in which four people died and nine others were wounded after gunman George Sodini opened fire in the busy gym.

Joyce said the two-day training sessions, which will be held in three more installments this year at the RMU campus, are intended to prepare 161 law enforcement personnel to deal with an active shooter.

Officers from RMU Campus Police, , Coraopolis, Green Tree, Robinson, and other department took part in the sessions, Joyce said. 

This is the second year in a row that first-responders in western Allegheny County have trained together to deal with live gunmen. In a real-life mass shooting or other critical incident in one of those communities, most or all of those agencies would likely be called out and would work together to resolve it.

"We look back at things like the Northern Illinois [University] shooting or Columbine, and during those incidents, officers didn't know how to respond," Mink said. "We want to know how to respond." 


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