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The Cheyenne Police Department talk about preparing for the unthinkable

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 8:48 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As mass shootings splash across headlines nationally, the Cheyenne Police Department wants to ensure their training is up to date to keep the community safe.

Cheyenne has been training in active shooter responses since the Columbine shootings in 1999.

They have 4 instructors and train a least every 2 years, if not more.

They also incorporate all school district buildings and several businesses to know the layout and prepare citizens for what to expect if CPD needs to come in and respond.

CPD places officers in decision-making emergency training to respond how and when it’s needed.

“We approach that by doing consistent training and which basically puts officers in a decision-making process so they are comfortable making their own decisions and not waiting for orders from higher-ups on the chain of command,” said Mark Francisco, Chief of Police Cheyenne Police Department.

They are expected to evaluate the situation and take the appropriate action on their own as they arrive at a scene.

“We’ve really given them the tools, the equipment, the know-how and the experience to put into action should this arise here in Cheyenne,” said Francisco.

Keeping the lines of communication is vital between Homeland Security and the FBI. The community is also encouraged to share information via the Safe to Tell platform as a way for people to report threats.

“Keeping those open lines of communication available when it’s not a crisis situation, because that’s not the time to practice it,” said Francisco.

School Resource Officers (SROs) train all the time before school starts and during the year with districts lockdown procedures.

Officers are outfitted with body armor, helmets, patrol rifles and firearms, which is more equipment than 5 or 6 years ago, and they are prepared for any scenario.

“It’s not acceptable to wait for backup if you’re ...If you’re the first officer there and you’re the only officer, we work through those scenarios. If there are a couple of you at the same time, we work through those scenarios. How you can support each other, but the expectation is that we advance and end the threat as quickly as possible,” said Francisco.

The department also runs “tabletop exercises” where they pick apart previous national and local incidences to see what they can learn.

In preparation for Cheyenne Frontier Days, CPD attends extensive event training sessions to learn best practices. There will also be video surveillance and officers strategically placed on the ground and up high.

When we asked about recent officer-involved shootings, the department said they handed over the investigation to another party.

The Department of Criminal Investigation handles the detail and doesn’t let the CPD know until the investigation is over.

“Accuracy is important; we want to make sure we have the right information, so without interviews from those folks, we don’t have it yet. We want to get the information out as quickly as possible, but it has to be accurate and it has to be completely vetted by the investigating agency,” said Francisco.

By keeping lines of communication open and training up to date, the Cheyenne Police Department hopes the unthinkable never happens here.

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