Liberal police officers secure the lower floor of the north wing of the Seward County Community College/Area Technical School dormitory during a drill conducted by the Liberal Police Department Friday morning. Daily Leader photo/Jessica Crawford
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
What would happen if shooters entered the dormitory of Seward County Community College/Area Technical School? The Liberal Police Department answered just that question Friday morning during an extensive training exercise.
LPD Captain John Antrim explained the reasoning behind such a drill, which involved three shooters and approximately 30 victims in the north wing of the dormitory.
“Basically what we did today, we had a drill involving a shooter response,” Capt. Antrim said. “It has been a big topic since all of the multiple school shootings and mall shootings that occurred ever since Columbine. They completely changed law enforcement tactics. Shortly after they changed those tactics, we began training our officers and we train on that annually.
“This is the first time we have actually had a drill to test their skills to this extent and felt it was a good opportunity for us and emergency services as a whole to test ourselves in a mass-casualty incident,” he explained. “This incident was basically coordinated by myself, Greg Standard from Emergency Management, John Ralston from Seward County EMS and Ray Petty from Seward County Community College/Area Technical School Security.”
Chief Al Sill said although yearly training is required, Friday’s scenario went above and beyond mandated requirements.
“We do have a certain amount of training that goes on every year, but this isn’t necessarily required,” Chief Sill said. “This is something we try to do periodically to keep officers trained in this area.”
Capt. Antrim said a lot of cooperation was required to pull such an extensive scenario together. The event marked the end of a week of training the LPD has been undergoing regarding such events.
“We started planning this about two weeks ago, actually at the beginning of this week, officers began training on this type of scenario,” he said. “This is just at the end of the week to test their skills.
“We had approximately 30 role players and three bad guys,” he continued. “The bad guys came from staff from Fellowship Baptist Church – Tyler Prater, Sid Prater and John Voght. They helped us out tremendously and we want to thank them. The victims and other role players came from SCCC/ATS students, the local Explorer Program and family.”
After the drill was complete, Capt. Antrim said a total of approximately 20 mock victims were sent to Southwest Medical Center.
Capt. Antrim was pleased with how the officers handled the situation. Although there is still room for improvement, he said, the way the officers conducted themselves would have saved lives had the situation not been a drill.
“Overall, they did very well,” Capt. Antrim said. “I am very impressed at how the officers handled the call. There were a few minor hiccups that we will discuss in debriefing, but overall, they were very quick in acting in the way that they were trained. The way that they acted would have potentially saved more lives in this dorm.”