Active shooter training exercise held at McLean County Courthouse

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The McLean County Courthouse was closed to the public Wednesday for an active shooter training exercise.

We stopped by to find out why doing these drills is so important.

Local first responders want people in public buildings, like the McLean County Courthouse, to be safe and prepared for anything.

“You never know when something might happen. If you’re totally unprepared, I would think that it would catch you so much off guard, you might not know what exactly to do at all,” said Bonnie Bohnsack, the Clerk of District Court.

Alexander Torrez, a McLean County Sheriff’s Deputy, says he has participated in two other training exercises, so we asked him what it’s like.

“Controlled chaos, to be honest,” said Torrez.

This is the first time an active shooter drill has been held at the courthouse.

Officials from the McLean County Sheriff’s Office and the court system say even though these situations are rare, it’s important to run through the what-ifs.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to test our skills. Once we get the initial call, we’ll respond accordingly. It helps us implement the tactics and training we do on a yearly basis,” said Torrez.

“I think it’s important so that everyone within the organization kind of knows what their part is. It could happen in one part of the building but not in another. Find out how you can best support anyone there, and how you can be reactive in a good way,” said Bohnsack.

You might be wondering, why is it so important to have these drills in such a small town?

“It’s not the same as it was. Even in the six years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen a significant change, and being ready to respond accordingly is important with the ever-evolving world. Washburn being the county seed, a lot of activity goes on here at the courthouse. Knowing that we can handle a situation in a stressful environment, it’s important for them to know that,” said Torrez.

Torrez tells us they will be holding another active shooter drill in Garrison at the end of the month.

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