ALMA – Alarm bells ring as the ‘principal’ runs out of the school to three waiting police cruisers. ‘Casualties’ line the floor as a ‘gunman’ paces the hall, shouts and fires.
Thankfully, this was a just a police exercise. But it’s valuable training in case the Pictou County RCMP has to deal with the real thing. That’s according to Const. Bryce Haight of the Pictou County District RCMP.
“This training is for immediate action rapid deployment, which is when there is an active threat in a public building.”
The trainers who filled acting and support roles came from around the province while the members being trained were from the Pictou County district.
Though the training took place at Northumberland Regional High School, the same scenario could be applied to the Pictou County Wellness Centre or Highland Park Mall.
“This type of training comes right from our toolbelt,” said Haight. “Every year we retrain for numerous activities and this is no different.”
This is the first time, however, that the training has been held here in Pictou County. Haight says the school was an obvious choice to orienting new police transfers to the area and familiarizes police with challenges in surroundings.
“With new and modern buildings, there are a lot more open spaces, hallways and hiding places.”
There was an emphasis on the details as the trainers strived to make the scenario as realistic as possible. The weapons used resembled real guns but the ammo, dubbed simunition, was similar to what is used in paintball guns. The realism in the event meant that the officers went through airport security-style checks to ensure no one possessed real guns, knives, ammo, pepper spray or batons. Even the vehicles were swept for anything that might cause real harm to an officer.
Even still each member wore soft body armour and helmets. The active threat wore a long black trench coat while casualties wore white shirts with red stains.
The RCMP went through two scenarios at NRHS on Friday. Both involved at least one active threat armed with rifles and shotguns.
“Something like this has happened in HRM, nothing like this in Pictou County,” said Haight. “We have to be ready if we ever get the call.”
The Chignecto Central Regional School Board has a code blue if a threat is suspected and the school goes into lockdown.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn