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Editorial: Large-incident training is necessary

It's a little bit strange to watch armed police officers storm into a school room you know well. Rosemount High School's performing arts center has seen its share of intense drama over the years, but the kind of playacting that took place there last Tuesday and Thursday was something very different.

Part of that was because the people involved were actually firing weapons. It was simulated ammunition, sure, but it still stung plenty if it hit you. The other part was because it was impossible not to think about just why police officers were practicing what they would do if an armed student had decided to take hostages. Or, worse, not to.

It is still exceedingly unlikely there will be a large-scale shooting event in Farmington or Rosemount. Statistics suggest kids are safer in school than they are just about anywhere else. But the reports that come from Newtown or Red Lake or Accent Signage serve as reminders that a large-scale shooting incident could happen anywhere.

That's what last week was for. It's easy for a police officer to remember the steps of conducting a successful traffic stop because they do them on a regular basis. That's not true of a school shooting, thank goodness.

Police officers practice because they need to have that base of knowledge to call on if something terrible happens. They practice because they need to know what it's like to put themselves in harm's way to help others.

That's why it is good, if a bit unnerving, to see last week's training first hand. It's why it's good to see Farmington and Rosemount police officers training together, because if something big happens they'll likely be working together.

We still hope it's knowledge they'll never have to use, but it's good to know they have it.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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