Kirkland rapid response training took on new meaning

December 15, 2012 (KIRKLAND, Ill.)

A rapid response training drill in the small Illinois town of Kirkland Saturday took on extra meaning for first responders.

Checking hallways, classrooms, stairways, all around Hiawatha Elementary School officers prepare for a mock scenario that feels much too real.

The drill puts Kirkland police officers in the middle of the school.

With a mock shooter on campus, officers have no idea where the suspect or suspects can be so they have to team up.

Much different than what they deal with every day.

"Normally the officers are acting in a very independent way in their patrol activities. What we want to teach them is how to respond as a team, how to negotiate our way into a building, find the threat and neutralize the threat," said Rock Valley College Chief of Police Joe Drought.

This exercise was planned about two months ago.

When the shootings in Connecticut happened Friday, Kirkland's Chief of Police knew they had to go ahead with the training. It even helped motivate officers.

"It reinvigorated them to get that training in," said Chief Stan Smith. "The world is changing and it's not just the big cities that have the things that go on, the little community is the same."

The group leaders said that although they knew training was going to be tough, it was something they had to prepare for.

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