Police officials being trained on school-based threats

South County

EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — Law enforcement officials from eight different states gathered in Exeter Tuesday to undergo training on how to be prepared and react should a dangerous situation arise at one of their local schools.

The three-day course hosted by the National Sheriffs’ Association will cover a wide variety of potential threats, from environmental to active shooters, according to lead instructor and Londonderry, N.H. Police Captain Chris Gandia.

“It really kind of brings to light the need to make sure that we have proper threat risk and vulnerability assessments,” Gandia said.

“Unfortunately, we can’t eliminate all risk,” he added. “We can’t stop all active threats or active shooters but we can clearly mitigate it, and there are different ways that we can mitigate it.”

For part of Tuesday’s session, trainees broke into small groups for a drill in which they developed response plans to hypothetical scenarios.

“We give them an incident that they have to go over and they have to put a plan of action in place, then they have to present it,” Gandia explained.

“We give them very limited information on the school and on the policies and procedures that are happening during the active threat incident, and they have to apply their principles to this incident,” he continued.

The groups laid out what they expect from the school and what they believe the school expects of them. Gandia said a major part of the class, which is also offered to school administrators, is to help police and school officials better understand each other.

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