Active shooter trainer: ‘It’s sad we have to do it’

Southwest Michigan

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office hosted an active shooter training Tuesday in Paw Paw.

However, it was not in response to the deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

The drill was scheduled two years ago, but organizers said they want to be prepared should something tragic happen in West Michigan.  

“It is sad that we have to do it,” said Van Buren County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Kirk.  

He put his people to the test with an eight-hour, regional active shooter training led by the sheriff’s office. 

“I’d rather have my people be prepared than not prepared in case something does happen,” Kirk said. “Hopefully, we never have to utilize it, but you never know.”

Instructors taught EMS personnel, firefighters and police how to work together to stop a threat and save victims in 30 seconds.  

As part of the training, first responders move as a unit, gave orders and carried 150-pound mannequins that represent shooting victims.

“We want to continue to prepare. We want to continue to set in place the actions that we need to do to respond to a situation like this,” Kirk said.

Kirk said remaining aware of one’s surroundings is critical for West Michigan residents.  

“The biggest thing that we see with people is a lack of situational awareness,” Kirk said. “Too many people nowadays are on their phones.”

Kirk said his office will oversee active shooter training once a month. He said he has already trained dozens of people and won’t stop until everyone feels they’re safe.

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