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WL active shooter training hits close to home

Friday's school shooting in Noblesville is on the minds and hearts of West Lafayette and Purdue emergency responders this week.

Posted: May 29, 2018 5:47 PM
Updated: May 29, 2018 6:33 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Firefighters and police officers from West Lafayette and Purdue are training for active shooter situations at West Lafayette High School this week. 

Active shooter training is nothing new for Purdue and West Lafayette emergency responders but this session hit a little close to home for some. 

West Lafayette Police Lt. Stason Wiete organizes the drills. Noblesville is his hometown. He wants to make sure the place he now calls home, is prepared.

"This school is a maze," said Lt. Wiete. 

Training allows police and firefighters to get familiar with schools they'd likely respond to in the event of a shooter.

"A lot of the situations that happen, there's kind of a trend that you can see," said Wiete. "We used a scenario recently where some firefighters were shot responding to a routine fire alarm which has happened in the United States."

It's important for police and fire to train together because each department plays a critical role.

"We're there to help the victims," said West Lafayette Fire Lt. Ben Jones. 

Police are there to keep people safe from the shooter.

"We try to get our guys to do precision shooting to take on those hostile targets when they present themselves," said Wiete. 

Not every training scenario went according to plan. A black target that represented a victim was shot twice and a pretend victim hiding inside a bathroom was never found during one drill. 

"Communication is critical," said Jones. "If communication breaks down, everything breaks down with it."

"The best thing that we could do is make the mistakes in training and learn from them in training so that way we don't make them in the real world," added Wiete. 

Active shooter training is proving to be successful in both responding agencies and school staff.

"What's unique about Noblesville is how that shooter was apprehended and that was the school teacher that got involved who saved lives," said Wiete. "You're starting to see more and more of that with training that schools are doing and giving power to their teachers."

Lt. Wiete takes comfort in that training and hopes you will too.

"We are modernized, we are up to standards across the United States and have been for the past few years," said Wiete. "There's nothing really more that we can do other than just train."

Tuesday's training was scheduled prior to the Noblesville school shooting Friday.

However, Wiete said he did incorporate some aspects of it this session.

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