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Active shooter training wrapped up at SPAC

Active shooter training wrapped up at SPAC

Officers from Saratoga Springs, state police and Saratoga County Sheriff's Department trained together
Active shooter training wrapped up at SPAC
A State parks police officer moves around the backstage area at SPAC during a weeklong training session that began Monday.
Photographer: Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs Police Department, New York State Police and Saratoga County Sheriff's Department wrapped up a nearly week-long active shooter training on Friday. 

The simulated training exercise took placed Monday through Friday at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

State park and Saratoga Springs police led the training. 

Saratoga Springs police Lt. Robert Jillson said the department conducts active shooter training at least twice a year. 

He said this was the first time the department has trained with other law enforcement agencies. 

"If an active shooter situation occurs, multiple agencies would respond, so this gives our department the opportunity to work with other agencies," he said. "Hopefully, by working together during the training, the transition becomes easier when we need to act on a situation."

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Jillson said it was also the first time the training was held at SPAC. 

"We try to change venues for every training, to expose our officers to different scenarios and venues," he said. "It prevents the training from becoming routine for our officers."

The Saratoga Springs Police Department previously hosted the training at the Wilton Developmental Center and at various area school buildings. 

Saratoga Springs Assistant Police Chief John Catone said that to send all 72 members to the active shooter training at SPAC it cost the department around $3,500. 

"Active shooter training tends to be a little more expensive because of all the prep work and the number of instructors, safety officers and role players that are required to do live scenario-based training," he said. 

Jillson said overtime pay is the single biggest cost of training, as the department needs to be adequately staffed while the training takes place. 

In the future, Jillson said, he hopes all the law enforcement agencies can continue to train together. 

"Hopefully, we continue in the same direction and work with other agencies to build those relationships even more," he said. "It allows the entire law enforcement community to get better. We'd also like to bring fire, paramedic and EMS components into the mix as well and get everyone exposed to that kind of situation." 

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said the department sent a different group of officers to the training each day throughout the week. 

"We've held this training already for our officers, but this was about all the agencies working together," he said. "We're all close by, and we share resources, so it's important for everybody to be on the same page."

Zurlo said he would do whatever is necessary to ensure the training is held again with various law enforcement agencies. 

"We will make it continue," he said. "We all need to know what the person next to us is going to do in an active shooter situation."

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