WALLINGFORD — Every officer at the Wallingford Police Department underwent active shooter training at two local schools this week.
The training took place at Pond Hill School and Moran Middle School. Teams of officers went through full-day training sessions, Lt. John Ventura said. About 70 members of the department from patrol officer to administration went through the training, which included a tactical medical session, called Stop the Bleed, put on by Z-Medica.
Officers were also trained in using tourniquets, and at the end of the day were split into teams and run through three active shooter scenarios.
”The team format is vital,” Ventura said. “You can use it for whatever situation you have.”
Ventura said the training applies to any active shooter situation, including in businesses or homes.
Sgt. Joe Cafasso was leading the officers in entry tactics. Ventura said the training was focused on skill building and making the officers aware of what should be done in those scenarios.
Ventura said one lesson that can be difficult for officers is walking past an injured victim or fellow officer if the situation is still active. Ventura said the first priority is to subdue the shooter if he or she is still present.
This goes against previous training where officers are taught to never leave a fellow officer or victim behind, Ventura said.
”They have the mindset to help people but you have to address the shooter first,” Ventura said.
The first scenario the officers encountered involved breaching a door while in formation, going through the door, maintaining formation and going down the hallways and stairwells of the school to find the shooter. A group of volunteers role-played bystanders in the school and exited a classroom with their hands above their heads while another officer was at the back of the group playing the shooter.
This was the first time the department performed this type of training.