Officers prepare for an active shooter in Chippewa Falls - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Chippewa Falls movie theater used for law enforcement training exercise

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - It's a scary situation we've unfortunately had to report on all too often, an active shooter at a place filled with people. That's the idea behind special training for law enforcement officers in Chippewa County Thursday. Officers showed WQOW News 18 what they do to prepare for being the first on scene when an ongoing tragedy unfolds.

"We can never predict something's going to happen. We can only train for it and wish that it doesn't happen," said Sheridan Pabst, Chippewa Falls Police Department Officer.

Members of law enforcement have to expect the unexpected...

That's why officers from several Chippewa County agencies took part in rapid response training on Thursday at Micon Cinemas in Chippewa Falls.

"Any kind of critical incident, there's going to be a small group that is your initial responders. From there, more officers are going to be coming in after that," Pabst explained.

Officers say this type of training really helps them learn to work with what's available until backup arrives.

"There are different techniques to the number of members on your team that are entering the facility. So we work through those scenarios and the different options you have within those formations," said Randy Stearns, Chippewa County Sheriff's Department Officer.

If you ever do find yourself in an active shooter situation at a place like a theatre, law enforcement officials say one thing you should do is identify yourself as a civilian.

"Law enforcement is going to treat everyone as a threat until we know different. So my recommendation would be to keep your hands up where law enforcement can see, and follow their directions," Stearns added.

And while practice Thursday took them through what could happen in a theater setting, there's no telling where they would be needed.

"The nice thing about doing it in the theatre is it brings our training to a business setting. And we can apply this to many different areas, it doesn't have to be a theatre, it doesn't have to be a school," said Pabst.

The officers there were not only from the Chippewa Falls Police Department; there were Lake Hallie police officers as well as members of the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department.

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Chippewa County (Press Release) - The Chippewa Falls Police Department in conjunction with the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department, the Lake Hallie Police Department, and Micon Cinemas will be conducting Active Shooter training at the Micon 8 Cinema at the Northridge Mall on December 12th and 13th.

Our departments have trained in years past in our local schools in preparation for active shooters. However, as recent years have shown these tragic events are not confined to our schools. The Micon Cinemas owners have been generous enough to allow our officers to prepare and train at their facility.

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