GORHAM (WGME) — On Saturday 90 law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel as well as 90 volunteers participated in an active shooter drill at Gorham High School.
“It’s very important with what’s going on nationally to keep our skills up, and to stay on the most recent practices with these types of incidents, and that’s what this training is all about,” said Deputy Chief Chris Sanborne of the Gorham Police Department.
Law enforcement came from Cumberland County and York County. The drill included actual Gorham High School students and teachers, as well as members of the community who wanted to help. Sanborne says the drill looks eerily realistic, but that it helps police make the right decisions if the tragedy ever happens.
“I think for all of us it’s difficult to think about [it happening here], but again, it’s important we prepare for these types of incidents. For law enforcement and medical services., this is what we signed up to do, we’re here to keep the people safe,” he said.
The drills were a part of a two day training course for local law enforcement. Police say the training courses were taught by former and current members of law enforcement that have specialties in terrorism response, joint combat operations, and active shooter scenarios. They say the training isn’t perfect, but it’s the best way to prepare.
“It’s very difficult to train for these types of scenarios, but again, these types of training’s are ever evolving and we are just trying our best to stay on top of these situations, and that’s what we’re trying to do today,” said Sanborne.
During the drill, students pretended to be dead or wounded, and even used makeup to create fake injuries and spill fake blood. The active shooter, played by a volunteer, was given a gun with blanks inside of it to make the scenario sound as real as possible. Police say the training can sound extreme, but they say these acts of terrorism are happening too often, and could happen at any time.
“Unfortunately I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘if’ this happens in Maine, it’s actually a matter of ‘when’ it happens in Maine. That’s why we took the extra steps in dealing with those types of incidents,” said Sanborne.
Police say the drills happen every couple of years as the curriculum continues to be updated.