Shepherdsville police use BCHS as training grounds for real life

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By Stephen Thomas

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - It’s not easy to prepare for a worst-case scenario, especially for police officers.
    With its multiple hallways and various access points, Bullitt Central is a school that could present some problems if a situation arose.
    But with some recent training, local officers gained some valuable insight into their trade.
    The Shepherdsville Police Department presented an enhanced active shooter response training simulation at Bullitt Central .
    SPD Capt. Ken Bernardi said what enhanced the training was a real school building and real student actors. Twenty SPD police units participated in the training.
    “We used real Bullitt Central students who were wearing simulation wounds and had ‘bread guns’,” Bernardi said. “We wanted to incorporate some real students to give more of a real sensation to the officers.”
    Drama teacher Kevin Gose trained 25 students in advance, along with some teachers and staff, to act out real-case scenarios that took place within school buildings in the past.
    A few members of the SPD Explorer Post 133 also volunteered as actors.
    “Every scene we did was based on something that happened somewhere else, not here in Bullitt County,” Bernardi added.
    Scenarios included students in classrooms and library settings with guns, a domestic violence situation in the front office, and a student with a gun in the main hall with multiple victims and shots being fired.
    “Officers reviewed procedures prior to (the training), but no other info,” said Bernardi. “They and the students both did exactly as they were trained to do. The kids did very well, they looked the part. The officers were amazing, they did an outstanding job.”
    In some cases Bernardi witnessed student actors improvising, taking hostages. He admitted the level of realistic training was uncommon for the officers.
    “Getting a school building, with actors, it was a very unique thing that we were able to use both and incorporate practice and training on what we hope we won’t have to do,” he said.