Rock Island, IL – (KWQC) This year, nearly 500 people have lost their lives due to a mass shooting in the United States. That’s why the Rock Island Sheriff’s office and the MetroLink bus transit have partnered up to run a simulation to ensure the safety of citizens in case an active shooter is present.
“These scenario’s are great for us,” said Lieutenant Matt Desmyder, the patrol commander of today’s exercise. “They’re as close as you can get to a real life scenario, you can’t replace a real life situation but in order to prepare for that, if it ever does happen, we need our guys to feel prepared.”
The simulation was hands-on, using mock hostages to create the real life feeling of a hostage situation. Western Illinois student, Devon Hulsey, who studies Criminal Justice, says this day taught her a lot.
“Even though it was fake drill, it was still kind of nerve racking,” said Hulsey. “Being on a bus and getting yelled at, ‘SWAT is here, put your hands down, they can have all of the dry runs they want but to be in a real life situation, and have people on board a bus teaches them a lot as well.”
MetroLink city transit buses over 10,000 people a day, and MetroLink Manager, Jennifer Garrity says it was a valuable teaching lesson.
“I think it was a pretty positive experience for the emergency response team,” said Garrity. It gives them an opportunity to do a run in the event if something were to happen.”
MetroLInk said it will continue to do these simulations in the future.