PORTLAND – Officers swarmed a large Portland movie theater Tuesday to train for an active shooter scenario.
Portland police have been conducting these types of drills for more than 10 years, but recent violent crimes have changed many things about the training – including where they are conducted.
After 12 people were killed and dozens more wounded at a movie theater in Colorado last summer, authorities realized it was a dangerous situation they needed to learn more about. That’s why the Lloyd Center Regal Cinemas were transformed Tuesday – complete with actors pretending to be injured and a shooting suspect.
At the start of the drill, chaos erupted in the theater and police responded fast.
"The scenario was that the shooter had already killed himself and the shooter was up in an upper hallway. But as the officers are arriving, they don’t have that information,” explained Pete Simpson, with the Portland Police Bureau.
Armed officers stormed the hallways and cleared each theater one by one. They even took one victim away in handcuffs because he wasn’t cooperating with police.
“They could be secondary shooters, they could be involved. We don’t want to risk that," Simpson said. In the end, officers found the shooter and rescued the victims. Their next step was to analyze the tactics that worked and the ones that didn’t – then make changes.
“It’s a real-time scenario based training, which is the way we learn what to do better,” Simpson added. “We learn from our mistakes and from this, lesson plans will be built for every patrol officer to get the training."
Police regularly train and prepare for shootings at schools, hospitals and commercial centers, like malls, but this marked the first time they’ve conducted a drill in a movie theater.