News Column

'A Nightmare Scenario' Before Christmas, Even for Trained Cops

Dec. 16, 2012

Nick Bonham

With school and public shootings a relatively common occurrence now, local law enforcement says it trains annually for such an event.

Both the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office and police department said "active shooter" training is mandatory and occurs once a year. Discussions about the matter, however, take place much more frequently.

"I don't think anyone could be prepared for what happened (Friday). I don't think there's a whole lot of answers for (Friday)," Undersheriff JR Hall said of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut.

"This is a tragic, surreal incident that affects all people. I don't care what demographic, there's just no real answer to this."

"It's a nightmare scenario for the community. We really try to train for that issue relatively hard," said Troy Davenport, a deputy chief with the police department.

This year the police department disbanded its DARE program, transferring four officers from elementary schools back to patrol. Officers are still assigned to work in Pueblo's high schools and middle schools. With Friday's events in Connecticut, Chief Luis Velez said resources are lacking to put cops back in elementary schools.

"Police officers, just like our children, are a precious resource. We currently have 10 police officers in our schools, and they are backed up by another 175 officers from our department alone. Any discussion about more officers would be a decision predicated on a great many variables," Velez wrote in an email. For citizens, both the sheriff and police department's websites have videos to instruct the public on how to act in an active shooter event, although not based in a school setting.


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 The Pueblo Chieftain (Pueblo, Colo.)

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