Dubuque Police Department hosts active shooter training at Senior High School

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- In an emergency situation, every second is crucial: that's what Dubuque police officers said during active shooter training this week at Dubuque Senior High School.

Dubuque Police Department officers train inside Dubuque Senior High School on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)

The training centers around a few key aspects: one, to become familiar with the school and its new additions: two, to complete victim recovery training; and three, to work with the Dubuque Fire Department.

Lieutenant Joe Messerich said knowing the layout of a school is critical knowledge in any emergency situation.

"It’s all about speeding up the response," he said. "Whatever we can do to shave off seconds to get us to that victim and get them out of there might make the difference.”

Senior High School was specifically chosen as the location for this training because of the new additions.

"Obviously there’s been some construction going on to the building so we want our officers to be familiar with the new layout," Messerich said.

The officers also have maps that detail the layouts of each floor of each school. Messerich said this training will give the officers a chance to use those maps.

He said, "resources like our school maps that are small, that can you know go with an officer on an incident really can be a valuable tool."

Officer Mark Lorenzen agreed. "Being able to know exactly where the cafeteria is, or A wing, or B wing, or wherever we’re trying to get, it is huge," he said. "Or even just looking at a map and thinking to ourselves, 'I’ve been there before, I can see it on a map, now I know the quickest way to get there.'"

The officers team up with the fire department to do victim recovery scenarios.

On Wednesday, law enforcement played out a scenario that involved a victim being shot in the elbow. Officers went into the hallway, all while protecting the medics so they could tend to the victim.

Fire Equipment Operator Todd Sieverding said this multi-department training is priceless.

"Being able to train with them, knowing their expectations, giving them our expectations was a huge benefit for both departments," he said.

It's all in an effort to have efficient responses under any circumstance.

"Not to be too dramatic about it, but every second counts when we’re trying to save lives or stop someone from harming others," Lorenzen said.