By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
Ever since the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999, law
enforcement around the country have been training to handle active shooter
Great Bend Police Chief Steve Haulmark said the early training taught law enforcement to wait until a small group was formed before approaching the shooter. The police chief said that rationale has changed to going into the building immediately upon arrival, even if the officer is by themselves.
"Unfortunately, if you encounter someone and get shot, maybe you distracted the shooter from doing that to someone else," said Haulmark. "That's what we practice and tell our people. We're comfortable with that here. I don't think there would be any issues with our officers if we had a situation like that."
The Great Bend Police Department reaches out to several organizations to offer training to staff on what to do if an active shooter situation occurs. Businesses and organizations can also request the police department offer training and advice.
Haulmark encouraged everyone to not become complacent if they see or hear something out of the ordinary or concerning.
"If you see something that you think is unusual or concerning, absolutely say something," said Haulmark. "That's what we're here for. If it turns out to be nothing, then I would rather deal with that than know about it too late."
The police department plans to provide training on active shooters to the Great Bend school district staff prior to the new school year starting.
The police department has done active shooter training inside Great Bend High School in the past. Haulmark said the department also has the capability of capturing video inside buildings, load it into a software program and carry out virtual training.