Officers from across U.S., Canada gather in St. Louis-area for a - KMOV.com

Officers from across U.S., Canada gather in St. Louis-area for active shooter training

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Officers gather in St. Charles for a week-long active shooter training (Credit: KMOV) Officers gather in St. Charles for a week-long active shooter training (Credit: KMOV)

ST. CHARLES (KMOV.com) -- This week, police officers from around the United States and Canada are in the St. Louis area for active shooter training.

The Eastern Missouri Police Academy, based in St. Charles County, is hosting the four-day training led by National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA). The course will prepare officers to return to their home departments and train other officers for active shooter situations. Officers from the area, including St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Washington, and Jefferson City, plus officers from around the country, including Oregon, Florida, and Georgia, and even officers from Canada are participating in the specialized training.

“We are talking about the officers’ approach, the officers’ entry, and then once they get into that building, how they are actually going to stop the adversary,” said Vincent Lariccia, an instructor with NTOA.

The training was scheduled before the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida but that tragedy is putting increased focus on training for active shooter situations.

“It’s a reminder that, unfortunately, these things still do happen. And it’s law enforcement’s responsibility to stay progressive in the tactics and mentality to deal with such individuals,” said Dr. Tom Leasor, Executive Director at Eastern Missouri Police Academy. 

While school shootings are top of mind, instructors say this training also prepares them for shootings in other public buildings and outdoor venues.

“The atmosphere changes but our core tactics and foundation of response is the same no matter what building we are in,” said Lariccia. “Stop the threat. If we can get the bad guy to start focusing his attention on us and stop killing innocent people, then we are winning.”

The training is also a valuable experience for recruits in the police academy, who will act as role players in scenarios this week.

“I think it gives them the perspective of how to never allow themselves to be in a vulnerable situation,” said Leasor. “If they act as a role player, as a bad guy, then in return they will then think and realize how vulnerable police officers can be sometimes if they let their guard down or are not as tactically responsible as they should be.”

While the officers being trained are from various departments in cities with their own challenges, instructors believe they all share one motive.

“It’s hard working officers that want to make themselves better so they can make their fellow officers better. Everyone is here to try and protect the public,” said Lariccia.

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