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Police train for school shooters

Using Frontier school for Saturday sessions

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Over the past few weekends, local police officers have conducted searches throughout Frontier Regional School, tracking down active shooters who are firing off bullets in the building.

The search and shooting is different than most in that the bullets are made out of detergent and paste, not lead, handguns are modified and the shooters are not criminals.

For seven hours on three Saturdays, police officers from the Conway, Deerfield, Whately, Sunderland and Hatfield police departments have been training for the possibility of a shooter inside a school building.

In total, 48 officers have volunteered for the police active shooter training, organized by Whately Police Chief James Sevigne Jr.

The next training is Saturday. The last training is Feb. 15.

The State Police Special Tactical Operations (STOP) Team is conducting the training free of charge for the local police departments. Some state troopers are also participating.

The training is scenario-based, in which officers learn how to respond to a shooter inside a building. It also involves a classroom portion.

Police officers have to search the school building as the state STOP Team play the shooters.

The training can be utilized for any event in any building whether it is the eight schools or various factories, like Yankee Candle, in southern Franklin County.

The training is two-fold. It allows officers to learn how to stop an active shooter and it allows officers to get to know the layout of the school better, Sevigne said.

The local departments have participated in the free training on and off for 10 years whenever it is offered, Sevigne said.

The training has changed since the Columbine High School shooting, in which two senior students murdered 12 students and one teacher in 1999. In the past, training was geared toward setting up a perimeter around the school and waiting for the state STOP Team to arrive, Sevigne said.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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