DES MOINES, Wash. - The Des Moines Police Department wants people to be prepared should they find themselves in the middle of an active shooter situation.
Images of the Las Vegas massacre, where 58 people were killed in 2017; the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died; and, closer to home, the Marysville Pilchuk High School shooting in 2014 where five died and the Cascade mall shooting in Burlington in 2016 where five people also died have become somewhat commonplace for folks like Des Moines resident Anthony Hills, who wants to be prepared.
“I think we're always thinking about it. It's how do you act during that moment? If you're in vicinity, what do you do?” Hills said.
That's why Des Moines police Officer Nathan Chevallier created the hands-on course two years ago.
“It’s the same reasons I equate to why we practice fire drills or earthquake drills. Now I can stand up there, somebody can stand up there and talk about an active shooter all day long, but until they actually participate and know what to do by running around, by hiding, by defending, then they don’t have a true sense of what it actually takes to do that,” Chevallier explained.
With Chevallier in the role of the active shooter, participants try to survive various scenarios that involve them running, barricading themselves in a room and using little yellow balls to defend themselves.
Robin Johnson drove up from Orting to attend the class.
“Our children learn it in school, but as parents, we need to know what they're learning, too,” Johnson said.
“Playing those real-life situations out in your mind because it gives you real perspective. It really does,” Hills added.
Chevallier said the next free course is planned for January. The training takes place at various locations in the community.
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