R.I. County Sheriffs Dept. Trains for bus shooting incident

MetroLink approached the Sheriff's Department to do the drill

By Gretta Patrick | gpatrick@whbf.com

Published 09/21 2016 06:34PM

Updated 09/21 2016 06:34PM

The Rock Island County Sheriff's Department surrounded a bus Wednesday. It was all part of their SWAT team training. This time, they practiced for an active shooter on a MetroLink bus.
Surrounding a bus... Forcing the doors open, and taking down the bad guy... 
It was all a simulation... Complete with normal people playing the passengers.. 
"Even though it was like just a drill, it was actually kind of nerve-wracking being on the bus, with the guys yelling at you, SWAT's coming at you and yelling to put your hands down," said Devon Hulsey, who played one of the passengers. 
This is the first time MetroLink has hosted the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department for an active shooter drill. Lt. Matthew DeSmyter says its the SWAT team's job to expect the best, but be prepared for the worst.
"The potential for something like this to happen on a MetroLink bus is always there. We hope it never does happen, but we want to be prepared to handle and help the community in any way we can," DeSmyter said. 
It was MetroLink that approached the Rock Island County Sheriff's office to do the drill. The buses carry 10,000 a day, so safety is a top priority. 
"When we partner with local law enforcement we give them the opportunity to be better trained in how to approach a bus if an active shooting incident were to occur," said Jennifer Garrity, MetroLink's manager of administration. 
The Rock Island County Sheriff's Department Emergency Service Team team trains for emergency situations every month.  
It's when they bring civilians to the drills that helps the team work on lowering stress levels too.
"I know that sometimes people may be a little intimidated when they see a bunch of SWAT officers coming up with all the equipment and stuff, but SWAT's goal is to save lives," DeSmyter said. 
The end goal: Keeping the officers, and the passengers safe during the worst case scenario. The sheriff's department trains for emergency situaions in more than just buses. They also simulate emergencies at office buildings and at schools.

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