AMHERST, Mass. – Police at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will be conducting “active shooter training” for officers and supporting agencies. The training sessions will be held in Dickinson Hall four times during June, July and August from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Police will secure the area during the training exercises to prevent anyone from entering the building, says John K. Horvath, police chief at UMass Amherst.
“This training is for officers and firefighters who may be faced with incidents similar to those that have occurred across the country in college settings,” he said.
Horvath says the training was scheduled on weekends to minimize the impact on faculty, staff and students who use the building. Dickinson Hall was chosen for the training as it features long hallways, many classrooms and multiple floors that are common in campus buildings.
Active threat training involves realistic scenarios and the use of simulated ammunition called simunition training rounds that have been approved by the National Tactical Officers Association. The rounds sound similar to real bullets being fired but use crayon-like material to show where they land, and the resulting marks can be washed away, Horvath says.
The training was introduced on campus in 2007 in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.
The specific training dates are:
June 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
July 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“UMPD wanted to make the campus aware of the training in the event someone sees or hears the training activity during these sessions,” says Horvath. “This type of training is important to our mission to protect the university.”
A media availability is scheduled for Saturday, July 12 at 11 a.m. at Dickinson Hall.