GROTON CITY, Conn. (WTNH) — In the now empty Colonel Ledyard School in Groton City, four police officers huddle together with fake guns drawn as they make their way down the hall.
“Open door left,” one yells. “Open door right,” yells another. “Hallway to the left. Stack up.”
They are entering the unknown and trying to stay safe in this drill where an active shooter is on the loose.
“This is where time matters,” said instructor Lt. Dave Burton with the Waterford Police Department. “So we’re here to save lives.”
Once the building is secured, officers retrieve the wounded.
“I got the head. I got the feet,” they said as they pick up Capt. Christopher Ferace of the Norwich Police Department, who is playing the victim.
He is taken to an empty room serving as a casualty collection point which is also under tight security.
“We want to make sure we stop all arterial bleeding first,” says Keith Edele a medic for the Willimantic SWAT team as he places a tourniquet on Capt Ferace’s leg.
700 officers from 24 departments take part in the training put on by the Law Enforcement Council once a month. The officers work with each other during these drills because in a real shooting several different departments will respond.
“It’s good to know how the other officers are and how they are trained the same way as other officers so we work as a team,” said Stephen Rebelowski with the Law Enforcement Council.
Each officer has to be certified every three years and they all have to know what to do in an active shooter situation.
This training has changed as instructors continue to learn more from real life shootings.