EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) -- While students were out of school on spring break today, policemen in Emporia crowded into the classrooms at Timmerman Elementary School for an active shooter drill.
For rookie Officer Danny DelGadillo, the most surprising part of the drill was the unknown.
“There's just so many places somebody could be in,” said DelGadillo. “You don't know what's around the next corner.”
For Monday's purposes, it could have been a gunman. Members of the Emporia Police Department canvassed hallways at Timmerman Elementary to practice how they would respond if a shooter were on the loose.
“I have older kids that will be running around grabbing hold of the officers saying ‘help me, he’s in there what do I do?” said Lieutenant Jim Tolton. “Preparedness is everything. You always have to train like a real situation.”
During the drill officers used simunition guns which operate exactly like the Glock 22's they carry on a daily basis, except instead of bullets, these are filled with FX cartridges which have pellets that are filled with soap and leave a mark wherever anyone's been hit..
“When you start hearing shots, you know, your mind just starts going into different places,” said DelGadillo. “But as far as training goes, you just try to prepare yourself and control your breathing and just stay as calm as possible.”
Part of the exercise’s effectiveness relies on officers knowing the details of the plan, but not the general public.
“We don’t want people to exactly how we entered the buildings, the classrooms or the hallways,” said Tilton.
However, Tilton does want people to know that if a threat were to arise, authorities are ready to respond.
“Hopefully it will never happen,” said Tilton. “I just want them to feel safe in their schools.”
This is the third year that the Emporia Police Department has practiced active shooter drills.