Radford professor explains training police use for scenes like FreightCar America

Published: Oct. 25, 2016 at 5:10 PM EDT
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It was a busy day for all the officers on scene at Freight Car America Tuesday, but they didn't fire any shots during situation.

They were prepared because of the training they've done for situations like these.

Radford University Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Tod Burke is a former Maryland Police Officer and now trains students on many things, including active shooter scenes.

He said it is imperative that every officer go through live shooter training before having to deal with something like Tuesday morning.

It can be nearly impossible to perfectly train for a situation like what happened at Freight Car America, but officers still try.

The training has changed from what officers were previously taught..

Burke explained, "What officers used to do is just set up a perimeter and wait and make sure all is okay. Now what you do is you go in, again with the assumption of trying to neutralize the shooter and also minimizing danger, and at the same time hoping that for officer safety reasons, there's not an ambush situation."

Burke said officers will go into common places like office buildings or schools to train in.

That helps prep for the situation, but officers likely never trained for Tuesday's location.

"You can't train in every single place and go into every single business, but the idea is the practice, the idea is to get the officers comfortable with what they're doing," Burke said.

Burke also said many times officers are just sweeping the building after an incident, because more than 60% of workplace shootings are over before officers arrive.

Burke has also studied and published work on the psychology behind workplace violence.

He said the violence is very common, but shootings like Tuesday's are extremely rare.

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