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Tucson Police recruits face active shooter training in an empty hospital

By Ryan Fish

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    TUCSON, Arizona (KGUN) — Just two weeks shy of graduating from their 24-week academy, Tucson Police recruits from the ’23-1 class took on ‘Active Killer’ training inside an empty hospital building.

The former hospital sits on N. Stone Avenue near E. River Road. Inside, recruits are thrown into several active killer scenarios.

“We put on a two-day, ‘ALERRT’ Level One Active Shooter Response course,” said Sgt. Jacob Smith. “Day Two is the scenario-based training.”

In those scenarios, TPD officers role play as shooters or as victims, some needing medical attention.

“It’s a lot going through your head,” recruit Arlene Olguin told KGUN. “You have a gunman, you have people that are potentially losing their lives. So you want to get in there as soon as you can and address the problem.”

Recruit Nich Flynn says the academy has already put them through several stressful situations.

“So now when we get to this situation, we’re able to kinda just think,” he explained. “And all the movements and the shooting and all that stuff’s kinda muscle memory by now. So you really just think about the concepts and principles they taught us.”

Smith says recruits have been going through some version of active shooter shooter for at least 10 years, but that training has evolved over that time.

In 2020, TPD added more scenarios to their training. Smith calls this the ‘ALERRT’ course the national standard.

“They keep up with the trends of what’s actually occurring in real life,” he said of ALERRT. “Over half the time, these events are finished before we even get there. The suspect could have fled the scene, they could have self-inflicted. Victims could self-rescue, they could subdue the attacker.”

Recruits learn to balance searching for a suspect without bypassing victims with life-threatening injuries.

“The concepts and principles that they’re learning don’t just apply to active attacks or active shooter events,” said Smith. “But these are concepts and principles that they can use every single day on patrol to help save lives.”

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