Local police in Somerset County learned what they need to do during an active shooter situation – outdoors.
Friday, in the middle of the woods in Somerset County, police attended an Exterior Response to Active Shooter Events (ERASE) training.
They practiced officer down drills, citizen rescues and shooting real guns modified to fire “simunition,” simulated ammunition similar to a paintball.
“It’s extremely important. The more you can train and get your skill set polished with what you need to do with current events, the better we can serve our constituents and work as a team,” said Brian Witherite, one of the officers enrolled in the course.
Instructors from across the country and twenty-six police officers from 15 agencies across the state and county attended, including Berlin, Meyersdale and Somerset.
“This is about as realistic as you can get,” said Somerset Borough Police Chief Randy Cox.
The county’s emergency services department has held active shooter trainings every year since 2013, but this was the first training outdoors. It was paid for by the Department of Homeland Security.
In the wake of a mass shooting in Annapolis, Maryland that killed five people, officers said this training could save lives.
“It elevates the awareness of why this training is important. We’re very appreciative for these fellows that have come from across the United States to come here today to bring this training to us on a local level, so we can be more prepared for that possible threat if it would be engaged here in Somerset,” said Witherite.