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School Resource Officers train to handle school shootings

WEST HARTFORD – While schools are out for spring break, school resource officers from across the state took park in their own brand of learning.

King Phillip Middle School in West Hartford -- usually quiet during school breaks -- was raucous with the sounds of police officers running and gunning and learning new tactics in the remote chance the worst happens at their school.

“The traditional school resource officer is now going beyond simply teaching the evils of alcohol, smoking, and bullying, we really are raising the level,” said Lance Newkirchen, a school resource officer from the Fairfield Police Department. “We want to make sure that students and parents and teachers are not only safe outside the school grounds but safe inside,” he said.

The course is taught by the West Hartford Police and lead by Lt. Chris Chappell, a veteran SWAT officer and former Army Ranger.

Chappell said, “When we put this class together we had an overwhelming response, [school resource officers] said, we want to train and we want to learn this.”

The policemen and women first have classroom sessions and then run through drills with simulated rounds. With officers from towns like West Hartford, Enfield, Farmington, Fairfield, Tolland, Simsbury, and Windsor, Chappell added, “It’s necessary training, important training, and it’s going to save lives.”

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