Officers train for real-life situations at Bethlehem schools

BETHLEHEM, N.Y. — School may be out for the summer, but at Bethlehem Middle School police officers were spending the day Thursday in the classroom training for real life situations.

Bethlehem Police Chief Lou Corsi said the objective is to have his officers ready to engage and stop a threat in any active-shooting scenario.

“We don't have a choice in today's environment,”he said. “It's a sad thing, but we have to be prepared.”

The training will last for a week, and officers will use Bethlehem High School and Middle School as backdrops.

“We use actors for bad people and police officers will use simulation ammunition, so it's real as you can get,” Corsi said. “The bullets are soap that have been dyed so what it does is when it's released out of the weapon it leaves a mark on the role players and officers so we know what exchange has been done.”

One of the instructors, Officer Pete Resnick said he tries to change locations and scenarios every year. This week, they brought in Dr. Jeff Rey from Albany Medical Center to help instruct the officers in using their first aid kits.

“It's exactly the same thing that is issued to military units,” Dr. Rey said. “It has all the supplies that can help prevent life threatening bleeding.”

After every simulation, officers gather with instructors to debrief, talking about what went right and what went wrong. 

“Everything is critiqued afterwards, positive or negative,” Officer Resnick said. “And it's just to have a learning curve.”

By Friday, all the officers in the police department will have been trained, and they will use those skills they learned throughout the week on the streets. 

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