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Drill gives agencies chance to practice response to active shooter

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The WPD SWAT team raided the US Army Corps of Engineers building this morning. It was not for real, but for an active shooter training exercise.

Organizers say it’s practice they hope they never need to use.

US Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Security and Law Enforcement Greg Barr says they have been planning for this drill for months by sending out training videos based on three responses.

“We’ve trained our employees to run, hide, fight, which is response to an active shooter,” Barr said. “Very beneficial to get our employees tuned up.”

The exercise also served as a training tool for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, fire department and EMS.

Some employees volunteered to be victims wounded by the shooter.

“When the gunfire went off, it sounded real,” volunteer Stephan Vithalani said.

In today’s exercise, the shooter was characterized as a disgruntled employee, which made the drill a worst case scenario.”

“You can’t prevent them from coming in, ’cause they have access to the building,” Army Col. Steven Baker said. “So that’s why this one is the hardest one to deal with.”

This is just the first of several drills they plan on doing. Barr says the local agencies’ response and professionalism gave their employees confidence.

“Makes me sleep well at night,” he said.

The drill went through the 911 Center as an active call, but Barr said safety measures ensured no live weapons were ever introduced to the scene.


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