TRAINING FOR THE WORST
NEWPORT CITY – Members the Newport City Police, Orleans County Sheriff's Department, and Vermont State Police took part in a refresher course on "active shooter" at the North Country Career Center Wednesday.The career center and the attached North Country Union High School make the structure one of the largest complexes in Orleans County. Each training session lasted two and a half hours. Close to three dozen law enforcement officers took part. Sgt. Larry Smith said the course had been in the planning stages prior to the school shooting in Newtown, CT, where a gunman killed 26 people including 20 children. However, the training was held earlier than originally planned. “We were going to shoot for their next school vacation,” said Smith. If police had waited, the course would have been held in late February or earlier March. “In light of the recent events, we figured we'd stepped it up and do it sooner than later.”Police like to use the school when students are on break, as they are now. They had an opportunity to walk through the entire school after the training. Police plan to hold an additional training at Canaan High School. Previous trainings were held at Lake Region and North Country high schools.“Our goal is to do them in more places,” said Smith. The trainings provided officers with a chance to become familiar with the facility. Smith stressed that even though the officers drew their firearms, they had no ammunition.The purpose of bringing in officers from multiple agencies was to put everyone on the same page, Newport City Police Chief Seth DiSanto said. He said that North Country is a good venue to hold such trainings because, with students gone, police are not inconveniencing anyone.