Practice makes perfect, and for emergency responders, that means training how to neutralize an active shooter and resolve hostage situations.
Officers from the Windom and McPherson police departments and McPherson Sheriff's Department, as well as the Hutchinson Department of Corrections, teamed up for a day of training June 29 in Windom. Participants practiced how to deal with different situations law enforcement might have to respond to, such as an active shooter, hostage situation or a felony car stop.
"These are things that are going on in our world," said Jeremy Rodriguez, Windom's police chief. "With recent events, we wanted to brush up on these kinds of responses."
Details on the strategies law enforcement officers will use to respond to a crisis are kept secret, so potential perpetrators can't plan around them. Rodriguez said agencies performed similar training last year, and he hopes to do it again in the future.
"This was the second annual training in Windom," he said. "This year, we broadened the types of emergencies."
The active shooter training took place at the Windom Elementary School, where law enforcement officers practiced how to safely neutralize a shooting threat. The hostage rescue training took place in an abandoned building, and the felony car stops were done on the roads.
Windom firefighters were also present in case of any accidents, as flash-bang grenades were used during the training.
Rodriguez said it's important for agencies to train together, as they will need to work together if a crisis becomes a reality.
"You train the way you fight, so it's a good idea for us to be able to recognize who our partners are, whether they're in plainclothes or uniform," he said.
He also said inter-agency training allows officers to share ideas and learn together which strategies are the most effective.
"You find out what works and what doesn't, and you can try out new and old ideas," he said. "I thought we all handled it pretty well. Everyone learned something. We have a good law enforcement community in McPherson County."