Law enforcement and first responders practice active shooter drill

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:05 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The FBI said the United States suffered the most casualties from active shooter incidents in 2022 than it has in the past four years. Officers and emergency responders now commonly practice how they would communicate with other agencies and execute a plan for those situations. On Thursday officials in Bismarck sharpened those skills.

Sirens like these sounded at the scenes of 313 injuries and deaths caused by active shooter incidents in the U.S. in 2022. The FBI says that is more than double the 103 from 2021.

Officers and emergency responders try to be equipped for situations like these.

“Obviously this is something that you can’t plan everything for, but there has been several months of planning put into this,” ND National Guard Colonel Steve Selzler.

On Thursday, numerous law enforcement agencies and emergency responders prepared for what could be their worst day. They prepped for a bomb threat as well as two active shooters, one that had hostages.

“The more you get trained and ingrained in yourself the better the response is going to be if--God forbid-- if we ever have to respond for something like that,” said Bismarck PD Lt. Luke Gardiner.

One of the biggest things the organizations need to work out is communication.

Selzler said this is the first time in his 36 years of service that he has seen this many agencies involved in an active shooter drill.

“Different agencies have different means of communication. This trailer behind us that is a comms trailer that has National Guard communications along with some of the state communications in order for all these agencies to cross communicate,” said Selzler.

Some of this practice hits close to home, as many of these agencies worked together when hoax swatting calls plagued several schools in the state back in March.

“With a swatting incident, we’re going to respond like this until we figure out it is a swatting incident. So that just gives us the training and abilities to respond and save lives,” said Gardiner.

The day ended with the agencies meeting up for a debrief on how the drill went.

Though 2022 had more casualties compared to 2021, there were fewer incidents. The FBI said in 2021 they recorded 61 active shooter incidents.