BOSTON (CBS) – You can hear the shots fired and screams of fear echo on this subway platform as Transit Police officers search for their target. This time it’s just a drill.
The I-Team got an exclusive look at the MBTA’s state of the art emergency training center where during this exercise Transit Police are looking for an active shooter.
Ken Green is the Chief of the Department. He says, “Preparing for an active shooter in transit environment presents an added challenge. High concentration of people in a confined space. We pray it never happens but we prepare as it if will.”
The underground center in South Boston is an abandoned subway tunnel where officers are able to train on out of service trains, buses and trolleys. Instructors with a push of a button are able to create special effects- a train arriving, panicked riders, gunshots, darkness and smoke, conditions that can quickly get the adrenalin pumping.
“You want to train in real life situations,” Green says. “We have the ability to simulate real life situations.”
“Anytime you can train on an actual vehicle that’s perfect,” he continued.
In the training scenarios, we watched police who used plastic bullets, and wore masks and protective gear to stay safe. And they have no idea what kind of scenario they are going into.
Cameras capture all of the exercises allowing instructors to review and analyze the officer’s performance. The Chief says recent mass shootings highlight the need to be prepared. Telling us in an emergency saving lives always comes down to training.
In this case, he says the training relies on past lessons learned and proven techniques. Telling us he wants to be sure his officers have the tools and training to be prepared to attack any situation that occurs on MBTA property.
The center was built with a $10 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The MBTA says the facility is also use by other agencies and departments for disaster training.