CARSON CITY — Loud bangs and the smell of sulfur filled the air in Carson City-Crystal Elementary School on Wednesday night, May 15, during a police training exercise.
Kolton Kavanagh, 16, and Karagan Kavanagh, 14, were both student volunteers helping out Carson City Police Chief Bruce Partridge during active shooter scenarios.
“I don’t think anyone can prepare for a real school shooter,” Kolton Kavanagh said. “But seeing the police train for what could happen is good thing for us.”
“We need this to be as real as possible,” Partridge added. “The blanks we are using are adding to the realism.”
Overseeing the scenarios was Officer Travis Kusmierski, along with two volunteers — who wanted to remain anonymous — playing the role of active shooters.
“I went through similar training with Montcalm County,” Kusmierski said. “The situations the officers face here are similar to real events that have happened before.”
For more than an hour, Kusmierski put Partridge and officers Alec Gingrich, Devin Jarvis and Jason Pattok in different scenarios, including a gunman hiding in the cafeteria, the gunman shooting in a hallway and a gunman committing suicide before officers reach him.
“What we are looking to do is our job, which is to get in there and neutralize the threat,” Kusmierski said.
As the officers moved through the halls cautiously but very quickly, the two volunteer students would come out running from the “shooters.”
“I got nervous when I saw an officer,” Karagan Kavanagh said. “It felt so real, I just did what they said and got out of their way.”
During one scenario, Kolton Kavanagh came running from the cafeteria with his hands raised high in the air yelling to the officer, “He is in there!”
“It was very intense,” Kolton Kavanagh said.
Pattok has trained as an officer before in similar situations in SWAT school and basic police training.
“I think tonight was well planned out,” Pattok said. “Everyone did a great job doing their part.”
When the training exercise was finished, officers debriefed with Partridge and discussed doing future trainings.
“I think everything was executed well and we definitely will be doing more school trainings,” Kusmierski said. “They help us and it demonstrates to our community we are doing what is needed to be prepared.”