AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst Police Department is scheduling Active Shooter Training during August for university police officers and supporting agencies. The three weekend training sessions will be held in the Mark’s Meadow School building between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Police will secure the area during the training exercises to prevent anyone from entering the building, says Patrick Archbald, interim police chief.
“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 such as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the University of Alabama Huntsville,” says Archbald.
Archbald says the training was scheduled on weekends to avoid disrupting the regular activities of faculty, staff and students. Mark’s Meadow was chosen for the training as it features long hallways, classrooms and multiple floors that are common to campus buildings.
Active shooter training involves realistic scenarios and the use of simulated ammunition. The “simunition” training rounds are 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 can be washed away. Staff will be responsible for cleaning the area after each training exercise.
The training was introduced at UMass Amherst in 2007 after the Virginia Tech shootings.
The training dates are as follows:
- Aug. 11-12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Aug. 18-19 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Aug. 25-26 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“UMPD wants to make the campus and neighboring community aware of the exercises in case someone sees or hears the training activity,” says Archbald. “This type of training is important to our mission to protect the university.”