Spokane first responders trained to prioritize communication in emergency situations

SPOKANE, Wash. — In Uvalde, Texas, officials are now saying the Police Chief in charge of handling the police response to the shooting at Robb Elementary (where 21 people including 19 kids were killed) did not have a radio. As a result, key information like the panicked 9-1-1 calls coming from inside of the school at the time became even more difficult to get.

With the limited information he had at the time, he decided not to send officers into the building thinking they were dealing with a hostage situation rather than an active shooter. Now, we’re wondering how our local agencies would handle a similar situation.

Multiple agencies in the Spokane area, including dispatch, do training together on a regular basis so they are prepared for the worst-case scenario. That training prioritizes a clear line of communication during a crisis, and that’s crucial for the best possible outcome in situations of this magnitude.

The good news here for our departments is that they are trained and well-equipped to handle a similar type of situation.

“We do a great job of training up in here of this area of training for those events hoping we never have to use it but be prepared if we do,” said Lieutenant Steve Wohl, the Training Director for Spokane Police Department.

Just 3-months ago, before these shootings made headlines across the nation, our local agencies were teamed up together to do a large-scale training.  Dispatch is also involved in these kinds of training to make sure they’re handling and taking in the calls in the best way possible, as to gather as much information as possible.

“In these large scale events, when you’ve got multiple agencies, multiple fire personnel, we want to be able to have communication that is available so we can get the guys going in or gals so they can get the information they need so there is no problem with the communication piece, which is huge,” said Lieutenant Wohl.

Beyond that, a mobile command post is set up near the event to serve as a unified spot for multiple agencies who are involved to come to that commonplace and communicate a course of action which in these situations, is imperative.

The first goal is to get to the victims as quickly as possible and stop the threat.

“We are blessed that we have a great relationship with the other agencies here in Spokane to where we can partner together and do large-scale training events,” added Lieutenant Wohl.

The planning and training that goes into being prepared for these types of situations are all in hopes that they’ll never have to use it.

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