NEW PALTZ, N.Y. --- Officers at SUNY New Paltz held an active shooter training Friday on the school’s campus. Close to 60 officers participated in the training from law enforcement agencies across the county.
"One of the things I'm very proud of and pleased at seeing is our UPD chief's commitment to education," said SUNY New Paltz President Don Christian, "not only for our own officers, but in collaborative initiatives with other police agencies in the region."
"We live in the 'what if' world, and we'll always want to have the awareness and training and ability to respond on a moment’s notice," said SUNY New Paltz University Police Chief David Dugatkin.
The session will last four days as officers are trained to handle various scenarios with active shooters.
"Some of the scenarios is anything from somebody that has already been shot to an individual that is holding someone hostage that also shot people," said SUNY New Paltz University Police Officer/Trainer Ryan Williams. "We will conduct an officer-down scenario, which is, you know, just encountering another office that was down rendering first aid, and then evacuating them from the building and continuing to search from there."
"We’re also training them on some more advanced techniques on breaching, particular ways of entering doors with equipment," Dugatkin said. "This equipment is typically very hard to obtain in training, and we were fortunate enough to get some on loan to us. So they're getting some great hands-on techniques today."
The school is still on winter break, and volunteers are helping as practice victims and shooters so the officers will get realistic training. The school's police chief says it's the largest training the school's had in the last five years, and with the country’s recent events, he says it's important for his staff to stay prepared.
"This is a good deal of prevention and awareness to keep our officers' skills to the point where it becomes almost instant memory for them," Dugatkin said, "and we call it muscle memory so that they know exactly what they're doing, how they're operating even with their eyes closed, so that it's part of their daily routine."