SPOKANE, Wash. - Local law enforcement professionals are reinforcing that they are prepared, as best they can be, if a tragic situation like the one in Connecticut were to happen in the Inland Northwest.
Spokane County SWAT Team Commander Sgt. Jay McNall says that they have been training for active shooter situations since Columbine.
"Last month we did the Spokane Valley mall for an active shooter response for the S.W.A.T. team. I know we have another one coming up this Spring," Sgt. McNall said. "We train in most of the schools inside Spokane County at least once, if not twice a year. "
Sgt. McNall says he's never been in a situation like the one in Connecticut, but he can imagine what it is like.
"It's the absolute worst case scenario for the people inside, it is absolute mayhem," Sgt. McNall said. "The responding officers are trying to get there, trying to do everything they can to save lives. You just can't get there quick enough."
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich hopes Americans everywhere choose to ignore the shooter and focus on the victims of this terrible tragedy. Unfortunately, he said the people inside the school only had a few options.
"In these types of situations you basically have three options; run, hide, or fight," Knezovich said.
Everybody plays a different role.
"Our initial response and our only responsibility when we get there is to neutralize the shooter and make it safe for the citizens," Sgt. McNall said. "People inside need to do what they are told by the uniformed officers. Whether it's get down on the ground, get to a specific area, put their hands up, or on the back of their head."
Grant County Sheriff's Office also reached out to KHQ Local News today and expressed the same type of information. They are training as well every single year to make sure they are on the same page for the worst types of situations.