ALDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) - The entire nation was shaken by the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
On Thursday, local police got some valuable practice in protecting our community in similar situations. But authorities have been practicing this type of drill once or twice a month for years. It can be used in the event of a school shooting or any hostage situation.
The Erie County Sheriff's SWAT Team stormed a vacant building of the former Erie County Home and Infirmary in Alden.
Sgt. Greg Kent explained, "The way you train is the way you perform out in the field. If you don't take training seriously, you're not going to take the real-life situation seriously, so we always try to add certain elements in the training and pump it up."
It's called an active shooter drill to practice for situations like the school shooting in Connecticut. In this situation, the SWAT team is practicing a building clearing technique, checking each room in a long corridor and assuming that there's at least one gunman.
If they have reason to believe a shooter is holed up behind a locked door, they can quickly set up an explosive charge on the door and stand back.
Chief Scott Patronik said, "Everything is very dynamic. There's a number of different techniques that could be used and that one potentially could be used gaining entry to a room or building."
But is there anyway police can actually prevent school shootings from happening?
"Prevention really comes from the school level with parents, with the students. If they hear something that's going on or they have a feeling, they have to tell a responsible adult, their teacher, their counselor, their parent and they need to notify law enforcement. It's really the information and the intelligence that's out there that could help law enforcement, maybe assist someone who was having problems before they did some type of horrific event," Chief Patronik said.
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