Members of the local law enforcement community are undergoing special training so they can better respond to shootings. Recent exercises at the Erie County Fairgrounds were led by a team from the Department of Homeland Security.
More than 30 police officers took part in a special active shooter training held in a vacant building at the Fair, arranged by Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard. Howard says normally officers have to travel to the Utica area for the two-day course.
Now instead of waiting for supervisors, Sheriff Howard says the first officers on the scene are being taught how to minimize damage caused by an active shooter.
Several rooms were used to stage hostage situations and the DHS also provided the officers with "Simunition."
Hamburg Police Lt. Pete Dienes said the training is crucial. He will be using the new techniques he learns to train other Hamburg Police officers.
During his 16-year career Dienes said he has seen a number of changes.
State Troopers, New York Parks Police, and Orchard Park Police also took part. Sheriff Howard says within the next few weeks, all deputies on the day shift will receive the live fire training.