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'Back of our minds all the time': Active threat, shooter training held at SMU

The training took place on the SMU campus at a building that is currently being renovated. It happened during the summer when there are fewer staff & students.

DALLAS — The police department at Southern Methodist University is partnering with neighboring police agencies to train on active threat situations.

Earlier this month, Highland Park, University Park and Dallas police departments worked together during simulations on campus. SMU has strategic partnerships with these agencies which are beneficial in situations where nearby assistance is needed.

"Training is about repetition but it's also about trying to create these environments that are as realistic as possible," said Sgt. Jesse Carr, SMU police's director of community engagement and communications.

The training took place on the SMU campus at a building that is currently being renovated. It is also happening during the summer when there are fewer staff and students on campus. 

A building that is being renovated gives officers a space to execute maneuvers and take appropriate actions that wouldn't otherwise be available in an occupied space.

"The top two of those priorities is, how do we stop the killing? And, how can we move on and stop the dying?" said Carr.

The training happens once or twice a year. Real officers across multiple agencies ran through these high-stress scenarios knowing full well the real thing just happened two weeks earlier in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.

"For us it is something that is in the back of our minds all the time," he said.

These are learning environments. Officers use blanks and simulated rounds in their scenarios. Carr tells WFAA the scenarios are mostly fluid, forcing the responding officers to adapt to the situation.

"To teach the officers to think outside the box and be fluid and dynamic in how they're thinking," he said.

This was planned well before what happened in Uvalde. And sadly, Uvalde is a reminder the active threat/shooter training needs to continue to happen.

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