Portage authorities train for active shooter scenario at local mall

Posted at 11:06 PM, Nov 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-12 23:10:30-05

PORTAGE, Mich.- Though no one was actually in danger, Portage Police, Fire and EMS got a realistic idea of what they should do in an active shooter scenario during a simulated training at The Crossroads Mall on Sunday night.

Portage Senior Deputy Chief John Blue says this training comes at a pressing time as the holidays are approaching and soft targets like malls will be busier than usual.

“Tragedy happens. It can happen here, it can happen anywhere," Blue tells FOX 17.

Times have changed, according to Blue. Police now have to strategize from the inside of where a shooting occurs.

“Post-Columbine, the mindset has changed that you may take a couple officers, go in and neutralize that threat," Blue said.

The training also instructed emergency responders on how to quickly treat injured victims. While it's critical to train authorities to respond appropriately to an active shooter situation, Blue says it's also important that the public know what to do.

“The key element is escape first and notify. You don’t wanna be in that situation where the final thing is fighting for your life... The next thing if you can’t get out, is barricade in, secured, not just hide under a desk or anything else... The worst case scenario is fighting for your life to get out and go after the individual," Blue said.

If someone has a concealed weapon on them during an active shooting, police say it's best they keep their finger off the trigger because they can easily look like a suspect. This can easily result in "friendly fire," according to Blue.

“You don’t wanna be walking around with a gun in your hand when the officers are coming in because you know, they’re not gonna know that situation," said Blue.

For security reasons, police were not able to share details or plans of the training.