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Fox Theatre scene of active shooter drill to train Atlanta Police officers

Police hold active shooter drill at Fox Theatre in Atlanta
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Usually, the iconic Fox Theatre in Atlanta’s Midtown is filled with people taking in a concert or a show, but that was not the case on Tuesday. Instead, the theater was used as a backdrop for a very realistic active shooter drill.

One by one, victims were carried out of the theater on Wednesday. The victims in this case are actors being played by police and firefighter recruits.

Inside, a chaotic scene moments after a gunman, played by an actor, opened fire. The scene shows people laying on the floor, some portrayed as lifeless.

Atlanta Police officers then converged on the room, laser-focused on identifying the shooter and determining if there are more.

“Our ultimate objective is to save lives,” said Paul Merritt, Atlanta Police Department.

The training is offered to Atlanta Police officers and firefighter EMTs once a month. The goal is to hone their communication skills. In this case - once officers secured the “crime scene” - EMTs were ushered in.

“Getting medics to them as quickly as possible we know will save lives if we have a real-world incident,” said Merritt.

Instructors say they want their training to look and feel as real as possible. The actor-victims have fake blood on their clothes and on their skin. During the drill, the actors are yelling for help and you can hear officers giving orders.

“So, they face all the stressors and all the cognitive difficulties that they would in a real situation,” said Merritt.

Atlanta Police have participated in training exercises like this since 2008, but in recent years with more mass shootings happening all over the country, Atlanta PD turned their attention to a more integrated response.

Following the training, the group participates in a meaningful discussion on where officers can improve.

“We’re making a concerted effort on a regular basis to prepare officers for hopefully that incident that never comes,” said Merritt.