CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va.— Police officers, sheriff's deputies and first responders took part in an active shooter threat exercise at O.B. Gates Elementary School in Chesterfiled County Saturday morning.
“They walked into a scene that was very chaotic, very crisis and troublesome," Deputy Chief Dan Kelly with Chesterfield Police said. "They had to make sure they focused to carry out their mission. We all know and we all see, all the tragedies happening across the country to communities. And here in Chesterfield County we want to be as prepared as we can."
Officers were spotted running in and out of the school as they practiced to contain the situation and save the mock victims being held hostage inside.
“A mass casualty situation involving gunfire, and so inside there were supposed to be multiple deceased persons, and multiple people with injuries,” Kelly said.
Lt. Jason Elmore with the Chesterfield County Fire and EMS says exercises like this are important.
“What can we do to minimize this happening as well as minimizing if it does happen, the injuries and fatalities in this situation," Elmore said.
And the exercise does more than prepare officers for the unexpected. It also lets the departments test their communications skills.
“Speaking with one voice we all have to understand what the other hand is going to do. If we know that ahead of time, if and when a crisis situation occurs we’re all going to know what the other department is going to do,” Kelly said.
Elmore said the drill was a success.
“We were able to get it done without any actual injuries," Elmore said.
But law enforcement will take away lessons from Saturday's drill.
“New experiences, new values and new thoughts on how they’re going to do their job in order to do it better in order to keep our community safe -- and keep them safe,” Kelly said.