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Police Offer Shooter Training

These days, security is a word brought up just about everywhere. Whether it’s security in schools or other public places, more and more people are thinking about it. In fact, several people have requested security-type training from the Columbia Police Department over the past two months. Police want to make sure people are safe, even if they don’t think they’re in danger. That includes people’s workplaces — because nobody would ever imagine it could happen there — but it does, and that’s what makes them so shocking. What would you have done if you were in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater when James Holmes started shooting, or in the Portland, Oregon mall when Jacob Roberts opened fire? Or in Sandy Hook Elementary School when Adam Lanza began shooting? Columbia police have a program to help answer those questions. Officers are offering the training in response to an active shooter or violent intruder. Columbia Police Sergeant Joe Bernhard says the training is nothing physical, but rather educates people about the concepts and strategies to deal with an active shooter — a sort of mental preparedness. “It’s to enhance public safety if one of these situations should happen in Columbia. If someone has the training and prepared themselves, it will minimize the tragedy,” Bernhard says. Jim Hill, at Target Masters in Columbia says, “education is power number one.” That’s saying a lot considering Jim Hill is surrounded by these kinds of weapons everyday. Hill is a firearms instructor at Target Masters, and we asked him about the police department’s plans. “If the public knows how to defend themselves, how to protect themselves, how to evade, it gives them the upper hand when someone comes in to do harm to them,” Hill says. Sergeant Bernhard told us they had ten people signed up for the training as of Thursday afternoon. As of Friday afternoon, 68 people have already signed up. The police department has two sessions planned for Saturday, February 2. The first session begins at 9:30 a.m; the second starts at 1:30 p.m. They have enough room for 80 people in each two-hour session, and it’s free to the public.

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