by: Ken Lemon
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
University of North Carolina at Charlotte officers practiced their response to an active shooter call Thursday, the day after a murder-suicide shooting at UCLA.
Because of concerns about the possibility of an active shooting on the UNC Charlotte campus, university police practiced tactics and drills.
This year, each patrol car was equipped with a small shield
strong enough to withstand a shot from a rifle round.
For the mock scenario, pellets were fired in a building on campus.
Students had to take cover wherever they could.
Channel 9’s cameras were rolling as officers practiced going from room to room.
They searched students as they went.
It was a situation eerily similar to the shooting Wednesday at UCLA where police said a shooter killed his professor and then himself, leaving the entire campus in chaos.
"You are looking at pictures of a campus, just like ours, of a place just like UNC Charlotte," Sgt. Travis Clark, UNC Charlotte police said.
The shooting at UCLA happened halfway through a regularly scheduled annual training session for officers at UNC Charlotte.
Sgt. Travis Clark said seeing the response in LA, made the simulated gunfight with pellets substituted for bullets feel more urgent.
"Even though it's training it's still stressful. There is that little bit of stress and that tension because you know that at any corner or within any room there could be that threat," Clark said.
It’s an unavoidable threat, UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker said.
Years ago officers were trained to wait to outside and set up a perimeter.
Now they march toward the gunfire.
"You move to the sound and you stop the threat," Baker said.
He said police have learned they can't sit back and let a shooter target innocent people.
He said on any given week there are 60,000-70,000 people on campus, "Hands, hands, hands. Put up your hands," Baker said.
Once this training is complete the officers will go back, look at their performance and work on ways of making improvements, officials said.
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