Hattiesburg police train for active shooter situation

Hattiesburg police train for active shooter situation
STAR team

Scenarios involving an active shooter are occurring more and more each day, and the Hattiesburg Police Department spent the day practicing their skills for the worst-case scenario.

Members of the department's STAR team spent the day training in an active shooter situation at The University of Southern Mississippi.

The special team members, including snipers, an entry team and commanding officers responded to a call of an active shooter scenario at Roberts Hall.

"This is in order to better train our STAR team, the specialty team for the department for an active shooter situation," Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler said.

Officers were only made aware of two people armed and shooting inside the building, and from there, their actions depended on the unfolding scenario.

"They have to go in and defuse the situation, and be able to get everything under control, there will be different things throughout the building that they may run across, and they will have to handle whatever that situation is when it arises," Traxler said.

One of those pertained to smoke filling the bottom floor of the building that turned out to be chlorine, which sent the officers down an unfamiliar path.

The officers got a little help from Hattiesburg firefighters who suited them up in hazmat gear.

Decked out in full hazmat suits, and still carrying their weapons they made their way to the building and made entry.

Shots rang out, and within minutes, the situation was under control.

Officers have never encountered a scenario where they have to use hazmat gear, and department officials said training like this benefits them all.

The specialty teams train every month and always put a different scenario in to play.

"At the end of the day, this is going to be the situation,"Traxler said. "If we have an active shooter it would be a situation like this, it will be a building similar to this, it may not be the exact building, the exact layout, the same type of doors, things like that, but it will be the same situation where it's going to be something on a larger scale."