ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Training: Emergency crews prepare for worst

Law enforcement agencies surrounding the Pine River area converged on Pine River-Backus High School on Friday, April 15, to train for every parent's worst nightmare - an active shooter.

The Pine River Police Department hosted the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s active shooter training at the Pine River-Backus High School with law enforcement from Crosslake, nisswa, Lakeshore, Pillager and deputies from Cass County. Photo by Travis Grimler
The Pine River Police Department hosted the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s active shooter training at the Pine River-Backus High School with law enforcement from Crosslake, Nisswa, Lake Shore, Pillager and deputies from Cass County. Photo by Travis Grimler

Law enforcement agencies surrounding the Pine River area converged on Pine River-Backus High School on Friday, April 15, to train for every parent's worst nightmare - an active shooter.

---

PRB active shooter training - 165 photos - Click here to view

---

Participating agencies included Cass and Crow Wing counties, Pine River, Crosslake, Nisswa and Lake Shore law enforcement. Participants, armed with realistic looking airsoft assault rifles, paired up into groups and practiced engaging an active gunman, also armed with an assault rifle. The sound of realistic gunfire rang out in the hallways as gunmen fired off blanks during scenarios.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The sound really makes it kind of hit home," said Pine River police officer Shawn Birr. "When you start hearing those noises that as an officer you hear, you don't hear it in the school so that automatically kicks you up that notch you need to do the job you have to do. It makes it more realistic and really amps everything up."

Lt. Scott Goddard of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office spoke to the importance of training with many police departments.

"It is important for peace officers from different agencies to work together in the training and planning stages of an active shooter response," Goddard said. "In a real life response, all resources will be called to assist. This training ensures that everyone will be working together."

The law enforcement teams practiced clearing rooms, locating and identifying threats, communication, calling out commands and neutralizing deadly threats with weapons fire. The training was hosted by the Pine River Police Department and led by the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office.

"We (Crow Wing) do this training multiple times each year with our deputies and other agencies as requested," Goddard said. "This training provides our officers an opportunity to practice the needed skills to respond to an active shooter type incident. The training location is also important and is a benefit to familiarize ourselves with locations throughout our community."

To some officers such as Birr, the training was particularly important. It took place not only in his city's school, but also the school his children attend.

"It's training that I will hopefully never have to use, but if the situation calls for it we are prepared and ready to do what we need to do to stop whatever is going on," Birr said.

Officers participating in the training were instructed to treat it as realistically as possible.

ADVERTISEMENT

"During this training, we push the participants to act and respond as they would in a real life scenario," Goddard said. "It is common for officers to see an increase in breathing, heart rate and adrenaline. This stress gives the officer a chance to build confidence in his or her abilities."

"I feel that it's still training, but you're thinking as an aspect of 'this is real.' We are going in there and it gets your heart pumping. Your adrenaline is flowing even though it is a training situation," Birr said. "You still get really hyped up. I don't want to get excited but you get amped up and ready for that 'game' to start and you are going to end it."

This was only one training exercise run by local emergency crews last week. Others included a controlled house burn by Pine River and Backus fire crews Saturday, April 16, and a mock crash and automobile extrication by local law, EMS and fire departments Wednesday, April 13, at Pine River-Backus School. These all contribute to the safety of the area.

"It makes me feel that if something were to happen here at the school, with everything the school does to be prepared for it and with our local law enforcement agencies training for that situation ... it makes me feel good to send my kids to school to know that if something happens, we have trained individuals coming in to stop that as quick as possible," Birr said.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
What To Read Next
Who are the people being held in custody in Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties?
"Hockey" is Pine River-Backus Elementary School's theme for the annual celebration of reading so the school teamed up with the boys high school hockey team
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota