Training scenario at Baldwin puts people on alert

Many noticed a heavy police presence at Baldwin school Monday, but there was no need to worry.

First responders were going through an advanced training simulation.

The gunshots came from "simunition rounds," similar to a blank or paintball.

When dispatch got the call around 4:30 p.m. stating that there was a situation at Baldwin School, they had almost no information. Officers were called from their stations and homes to participate in the training scenario which they say is as real as it gets.

"What we've done today to make this training realistic is we've got as many people as we could involved," Steve Bangert, one of officers responsible for organizing the elaborate training scenario said.

One of the groups that got involved was an Airsoft team.

"We put the cops in difficult situations which other officers may not think of," Jesse Smith, one of the shooters explained.

The scenario started when firefighters got an alarm and responded to the scene. Two of the firefighters went into the school and were shot, and the third called in for police help.

"The stress level is very high for the officers that are here," Bangert explained.

That was easy to see as police moved through the building, encountering several active shooters. When they got down the first hallway past the entrance, they saw it was a hostage situation. Volunteer hostages were being used as leverage for their list of commands.That's when the emergency response unit and snipers were called in to help.

"The more they train, the better they're going to act to a real life scenario," Bangert explained.

While Quincy has been lucky enough to avoid major hostage situations recently, Lt. Dennis Bingheim with QPD cited a serious hostage situation in 1992 at a local bank.

"It helps you sleep better at night, it makes you feel better that our police department is ready for something like this," Aaron Arnold, president of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni said.