EWU Police Department provides important training for emergency response personnel


Brad Brown

Law enforcement officers participate in one of this years active shooter scenarios

By Rosie Perry, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday the EWU Police Department hosted their tenth annual and one of their largest active shooter training drills at the PHASE building.

Exercise Coordinator Ralph Wilfong said this year had more than 150 total participants. That number includes the following law enforcement agencies, Fire departments, and support staff respectively:

EWU Police Department, FBI, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane County SWAT team, Fairchild Air Force Base Security, Washington State Patrol, Kalispel Tribal Police, Cheney Police Department, WSU Spokane Security, UW Police Department.

Cheney Fire Department, Spokane Fire Department, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Pullman Fire Department, American Emergency Response (AMR) Spokane Fire District Three.

ROTC, Spokane County Emergency Management, John F. Kennedy Library, EWU Parking, Kootenai Health Security, Design West Architects, Church of Latter Day Saints.

This training is something that EWU Police Chief Tim Walters said continues to grow each year.  “When I got here we started the program because it was training that we needed for our officers,” said Walters. “Then obviously after Virginia Tech happened in 2007 we really intensified our training.”

Some emergency response agencies are required to complete a certain amount of training each year. “Some departments have 25 hours of training required a year, some have 50, and this is a part of that,” Walters said.

During the training, participants are faced with different active shooter situations, employing a variety of tactics, before going through the three main scenarios. The scenarios are different each year in order to give the participants a variety of trainings on how to handle emergency situations.

The department recruits volunteers to act as both the victims and the criminals in each scenario in order to provide the most realistic training for the participating officers and rescue personnel.

“The event is intended to be an intense exercise designed as realistic as possible and I think we succeeded very well at that,” Wilfong said.

As the participants entered the scene, using room entering tactics they had practiced earlier that day, they were immediately faced with victims running scared and screaming for help while others were crawling towards them with fake blood on their bodies.

As they progressed through the scene they found several casualties as well as victims who they had to carry to safety.

Volunteers who died had fake gunshot wounds to the head and other other parts of the body. They were meant to teach the participants how to respond properly when everything and everyone around you is in chaos.

“The big takeaway for me and how I believe this is a success, everybody who participates in this event are people that are going to be here if we actually have a shooter,” said Walters. “So they know who we are, they know our campus. That’s the goal,”