SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Emergency management personnel from across the state are in Springfield to train for modern-day crises.
It was a topic all-too familiar for this year’s keynote speaker. The deputy chief of the Aurora Police said he wants other officers in Illinois to know it can happen to them.
Active-shooter situations are difficult to prepare for. That’s why the deputy chief encouraged everyone that you can never be too prepared.
Back in February, a disgruntled employee opened fire at the Henry Pratt Company Plant in Aurora, killing five co-workers and wounding five deputies.
“Of the five, four are back to work. Three in a light duty capacity. One is back full duty. We still have one officers who is still off and trying to work his way back,” said Aurora Police Deputy Chief Keefe Jackson.
Though the five officers were hurt, Jackson said the shooting could have been much work if they were not prepared.
“Don’t underestimate the effect of training in any type of response, I know in our situation it really played a big part,” said Jackson. “You hope that you never have to deal with it. And I don’t think our department is any different in terms of hoping that it never happened. But I think the preparation and training we put into it beforehand helped us have the best outcome under the circumstances.”
More than six months later, Jackson does have one area he said his department and others can improve on. “In some of these incidents, you usually have issues with communication with out agencies coming to assist. That didn’t really play a major role, we still recognize it as something we need to address and work towards.,” he said.
For lawmakers supporting the first responders, they warn them to stay ready every day. “There will be more mass shootings. We will do all that we can to prevent them but we know they will happen. We can’t stop everything from happening but what we can do is be prepared,” said Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell.
Jackson said on top of more preparedness training, his department has been focusing on the community and helping them recover from the tragedy.