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July 9, 2014

Police train for hostage scenarios

OKLAHOMA CITY — A gunman brandishing an automatic weapon fires a series of shots inside a university building bustling with students and faculty members, quickly filling the building with the smell of gunpowder and causing a panic as people duck into bathrooms and unlocked closets to hide from the danger.

But in this case, the shooter was firing blanks, and the people hiding from him were participants in a mock active shooter scenario with the Oklahoma City Police Department’s tactical unit.

The exercises at Oklahoma City University’s University Center Tuesday provided training for members of the police department’s tactical team as well as for faculty and students, who got a glimpse of what the violent scenarios might be like.

“It can be a little bit of a stressful scenario,” OCU Police Chief Bradd Brown said before the training program began. “We’re real big on emergency preparedness. We want to see our strengths and weaknesses here on campus.”

Brown, a retired Oklahoma City Police Department captain, said an active shooter scenario has never occurred on the private campus of about 3,500 students. But campus shootings have occurred elsewhere in the nation, including one last month that left a 19-year-old Seattle Pacific University student dead and two others wounded.

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