RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More than 60 members of law enforcement flooded The Common's on VCU's Monroe Park Campus on Thursday, practicing how they would respond if a gunman were to storm the building.
The training took seven months to prepare, and VCU Chief of Police John Venuti says part of the goal is to make sure multiple police agencies can work together.
"We know that with any type of large scale incident that would take place here at VCU would bring a flood of external resources," said Venuti. "Communication challenges do occur."
While the school has held similar drills in the past, Venuti says this year's exercise included other law enforcement agencies as well.
VCU police, Richmond police, Virginia State Police, and agents from the FBI and ATF took part in Thursday's training.
"Obviously, my officers know this environment. Many of the Richmond, state police, and FBI personnel are coming into this building for the first time," he said.
Once inside, first responders mission is twofold; stop the bad guy, and help the injured. Venuti says the major challenge for initial responding officers is that they usually have very little information to work with.
"As soon as they come in the door of whatever they are responding to they are collecting dynamic intelligence. What that means is, do we hear gunshots? And if we hear gunshots, that's the direction we're going to," said Ventui.
According to Venuti, one in four mass shootings occur on college campuses. He says citizens should remember if they are ever trapped with a real-life gunman to "run, hide, and fight."
"We want them to fight with chairs, with tables, with fire extinguishers, with any type of weapon they have," he said.
Ventui says Although this is a situation he hopes his officers never have to face, they are ready if tragedy should strike.
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