University of Colorado police participate in ‘active shooter’ drill

BOULDER, Colo. — Gunfire inside a CU building is not what it seems. The officers rushing in are real. And so are the guns. But the bullets are plastic, and the emergency is really a training session.

At the McAllister Building on CU’s East Campus at 4001 Discovery Dr., about a dozen CU police officers learn lessons on how to take down an active shooter who has already injured two people.

“These kinds of incidents we’ve all tragically seen, they can happen on campuses. So we take training very seriously, very important training, we hope we never have to use,” says Ryan Huff, spokesman for the CU Police Dept.

It’s a fake situation that’s become all too real here and nationally.

But police say before these first responders ever arrive, you should have a plan of survival.

First: run, escape if you can. Then, call 911. And if you can’t get out, then hide. You should lock or barricade the door, turn off lights and silence your cell phone.

And only as a last resort–when you are in imminent danger of getting shot—fight. Use improvised weapons, like a chair or paperweight. Completely commit to taking down the gunman.

CU Police quickly track down the faux felon. Officers get it right for the most part.

They make mistakes, which are acceptable here—but not in the real world.

“It’s not an ‘if,’ but a ‘when’ scenario. So we try to take this pretty seriously…We’re aware it may not happen here at CU but somewhere,” says Officer Steve Cowles.

The department started this training 12 years ago, after Columbine.

And they say their training has evolved through each mass shooting and it keeps changing.

Once, they trained as larger groups to move in. Then, that dropped to two or three officers. Now, they train as individuals to take action.