MARQUETTE — School is out for most students in the Upper Peninsula, but one classroom at Marquette Senior High School had seats filled with those looking for a different type of class.
Officers from the City of Marquette Police Department held a training session for law enforcement from around the county on Monday. Training focused on what to do during an active shooter or active violence situation.
“We never know when a situation like this is going to come up, and we can’t usually pick or choose what environment it happens in,” said Patrol Officer John Waldo of the City of Marquette Police Department. “So it’s just a great opportunity that we can get everybody together.”
While the information was mostly a refresher for those involved, it also provided a look at new county-wide policies recently enacted by the Marquette County Law Enforcement Administrator’s Association.
“Instead of each agency having different policies and procedures in how to respond to an active shooter or active violence situation, we came together. We all adopted the same guidelines,” said Chocolay Township Police Chief Greg Zyburt. “It brings all the different agencies onto the same page [with] how we’re going to respond.”
Along with the unified guidelines comes a new system which allows Central Dispatch to communicate with officers via text message in case an active shooter situation arises.
“All of the different police officers in all of the different agencies in Marquette County – they will be able to get this text and be able to respond – off-duty or on-duty – to the active shooting situation,” Zyburt added.
Training not only gives officers an edge physically when dealing with these difficult and dangerous events – it also helps to prepare them mentally.
Zyburt said, “You react the way you’re trained.”
“You can have all the tools in the world and all the technology, but if you don’t know how to apply it, or you’re not confident in the application, then it’s not going to do you any good,” said Waldo. “We try to make it interesting for them, and we try to ramp up the stress a little bit to get them to start thinking and to avoid all the pitfalls.”