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FBI, Two Other First Responders Learn From Mall Training Exercise

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BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) - In the hours and weeks after an active shooter exercise, law enforcement are assessing their response and learning how to improve.

“We have gotten much better at our response and the training that we do,” said Steve Olson, Assistant Special Agent-In-Charge with the FBI.

CBS4 first told you about the joint exercise between the FBI, Broomfield Police Department, North Metro Fire and Rescue and Flatiron Crossing Shopping Center on May 18 when it happened.

RELATED: Law Enforcement Hold Active Shooter Exercise in Broomfield

“Can you share some of those evaluations? How well law enforcement agencies did or didn’t do?” asked CBS4’s Gloria Neal.

“We always struggle a bit with communications,” Olson replied. “Often times you are working with, not intentionally, wrong information, but later, information that will prove to be inaccurate.”

The exercise was the first time officers faced an active shooter scenario in a shopping mall.

“We can’t anticipate or forecast or project where the next active shooting is going to take place, so the goal really is to expose law enforcement officers to as many different venues as we can in a training scenario,” Olson explained.

After gunman took over a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last year, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. saw the need to practice their skills in that kind of environment. Indoor shopping centers offer unique challenges including the potential for hundreds of civilians to be in close proximity to the shooter. They’re also large spaces with lots of hiding places.

“It really becomes, essentially, a game of hide and seek, in a sense,” Olson added.

The exercise at Flatiron Crossing is one of 53 active shooter exercises taking place across the country.

–Written for CBSDenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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