Creeping down hallways with firepower at the ready, Oberlin police officers practiced Monday at Langston Middle School against the event of an intruder.
They swept rooms in an expanding dragnet, imagining what steps would be necessary to rein in a shooter.
Thirteen officers took part in the exercise spearheaded by Sgt. Victor Ortiz and Ptl. Billie Neadham.
Ortiz talked about the proper way to check hallways, classrooms, and staircases, encouraging officers to move down the hallways in squads of five to provide 360 degrees of coverage.
At least two were assigned to check each room before moving on. “We never go in a room alone,” Ortiz said.
There are three phases to an active shooter situation, he said:
• Phase I — The active shooter is in the building, officers go after the threat, ignoring injured people and not stopping to clear rooms along the way.
• Phase II — Officers begin searching the structure and rescuing civilians.
• Phase III — Police pair up, moving slowly to check each door, room, and locker until the building has been completely secured and everyone is out.
“It’s a real tight search,” Ortiz said of the last phase. “We’re not going to leave anything unturned.”
An active shooting situation usually lasts 12 minutes. The shooting usually stops when officers arrive, at which point flight, detainment, or suicide are the typical outcomes, he said.
“We haven’t had this type of training in a while,” Ortiz said. “This is something we should do every year.”
In the interest of preparation, the OPD plans to hold another drill in early 2016 at Oberlin College with the fire department and EMS. Ortiz wants to have people inside the building acting as the shooter and role playing as the injured.
He has wanted to hold a drill at the college because it offers several challenges, such as how to enter a locked building.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
In a drill Monday, Oberlin police Sgt. Patrick Durica looks down a Langston Middle School hallway for a shooter as his officers gather around him.