CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — When it comes to public safety, preparing for the worst possible circumstances is vital. That’s why 30 police officers from around Rhode Island were in Cranston this week to receive active shooter training.
“This is just a stark reminder that everybody has to be prepared. You never let your guard down,” Cranston Police Major Todd Patalano told 12 News.
For Patalano, one of the most important things for local law enforcement is to be proactive, rather than reactive when it comes to training.
“Whenever you encounter one of these situations, they are one of the most dangerous situations law enforcement can encounter,” he said. “You know you’re confronting an armed individual, and we all know the violence is taking place inside.”
With funding from a federal grant and Louisiana State University’s Academy of Counterterrorism Education, officers will spend four days doing drills, including an active school shooter.
“When these situations occur, you have to have your faith in your law enforcement that they’re going to respond and take care of the problem at hand, no matter how violent it could be,” Patalano said.
The training is hand-son, with officers going room to room with guns loaded with ceramic pellets. The rooms are filled with life-size cutouts of civilians, children, and an armed target.
“They’re trained how to respond, how to react without delay. That’s the key message here,” Patalano said.
Cranston police have been conducting these types of drills for more than 20 years, according to Patalano, but he said it’s crucial to continue doing them and learning from them.
“Every year we make it better, we make it more realistic,” he said. “Inside there’s props, there’s situational shooting, all of that factors into making a quick, effective response.”
Patalano said the officers who underwent this week’s training will go on to train other officers within their respective police departments.