Police departments reevaluating emergency plans

By Denise Jackson

December 18, 2012 Updated Dec 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The shooting massacre in Connecticut is prompting local law enforcement to re-evaluate emergency response policies with schools. Authorities say they want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Police officers who participate in emergency training say the 1999 Columbine Shooting massacre changed how first responders address life threatening situations. Before, officers would wait for a swat or tact team to come but now, an officer is trained to immediately go after a threatening target.

"Sometimes we don't have 45 minutes to wait for a swat team or tact team that the person that's in there when the call comes in from a school is usually when the first shots are heard and most of the time, there's an officer not that far away. But if the person continues to go through the school and shoot at people then we need to get somebody in there right away to stop that from happening," said Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy.

In Newtown, Connecticut as first responders were closing in, shooter Adam Lanza shot and killed himself, ending the massacre.

Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says the tragedy is causing him to reevaluate emergency plans with schools.

"We are on the same page, but I want to make sure that in light of recent events look at our policy, look at their policy, are there improvement that are necessary do we need to run joint training. Do we as the police need to speak to staff or teachers or do they need to speak to us," he said.

The Peoria Police and County Sheriff's Department routinely collaborate with local school districts on emergency plans. McCoy says he's sending a letter to school districts throughout the county asking if they would like a review of policies.

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