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Lawrence police, fire train together for active shooting at Ivy Tech Public Safety campus

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Improving communication between police and Emergency Medical Services during an active shooting is what the city of Lawrence is pushing. The training comes just weeks after several mass shootings.

The Lawrence Police Department and the Lawrence Fire Department have been preparing for the unthinkable.

“It’s always a joint effort,” the fire chief of the Lawrence Fire Department, Dino Batalis, said.

The training aims to make sure that police, fire, and EMS can work together effectively during an active shooter situation.

“The more prepared we are that if an incident like this happens, we don’t have to wait and think about it. We’re going to act,” Batalis said. “I think that’s why the whole thing is, police and fire are in this together, because there’s not going to be any guessing games what either side is doing.”

Lawrence police officers and fire chiefs say they’ve learned a lot from looking at what has happened in other shootings including the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.

“Maybe some incidents around the country they weren’t prepared, but when you go into this with this training all behind you, and you’ve got the course of the training done, then you know what each entity is going to do,” Batalis said.

“You don’t have to stop and form a plan. That plan is in place. You know exactly what to do and as long as that active threat exists in law enforcement, we are going to confront that threat,” the chief of the Lawrence Police Department, Gary Woodruff, said.

Police and fire moved through hallways and classrooms at the Ivy Tech Public Safety Technology Training Center. Police pretended to lead first responders into warm zones, which is where a potential threat exists, but there is no direct or immediate threat.

“There’s going to be two or three police officers for every four people from public safety. They’re all going to have radios (and) they’re all in close communication,” Batalis said. “The radios are basically to relay stuff from the outside of the incident, but inside, they’re going to be as close as we are, or closer.”

According to Batalis, other organizations like the Indianapolis Fire Department will also go through this training.