Previously scheduled shooter drill held at Saratoga Race Course

October 03, 2017 06:47 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The images are especially startling at a place known for its beauty. Officers with guns drawn are ready to enter a building at the iconic race track. Police say a place where hundreds of thousands come to play each summer makes it a place that could be a target. So police and firefighters train for the worst.

There are active shooters at the "August Place to Be." Tuesday, the roles of the armed bad guys were being played by Sgt. Jay Cadoret and Officer Dan Mullan. Other officers search for them, and for victims. Still others escort unarmed firefighters into a building to care for the wounded.

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Lt. Shane Crooks says the training accomplishes two goals, "Our officers get to know the layout of Saratoga Race Course, the ins and outs, the backrooms, the hallways that they may have never been down. Second, we're preparing for the worst case scenario, something we hope never happens."

And not lost on them is the worst case scenario that played out this week in Las Vegas -- a gunman shooting and killing dozens and injuring hundreds.

"We can't be of the mindset that that won't happen in our area."

So they go through scenarios like this over and over again, at schools and the race track. Places where a lot of people gather. They've been doing this training for years and they say there's one place where they haven't done it, that they'd like to and need to, for the safety of all of us who go there.

"SPAC is the one venue we haven't gotten into yet and hopefully over the winter months we'll be able to work out something with the administration of SPAC so we can start training down there as well because that venue is a concern for us," said Assistant Chief John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to NY State Parks Tuesday to find out if they plan to allow police to train at SPAC.

Randy Simons, a state spokesman, emailed to say, "Yes, we always work with all law enforcement agencies to assist them with their needs such as requests to use our facilities to conduct training sessions."

Assistant Chief Catone says SPAC will be first on the police department's training list in the spring.


Mark Mulholland

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