The Buffalo Common Council adopted a resolution, Tuesday, instructing the Buffalo Police Department to train public employees of city-owned community centers, swimming pools and ice rinks on how to respond to an active shooter threat.
Council Member Chris Scanlon, (D) South District, introduced the resolution after a false threat incident at Tosh Collins Community Center on Cazenovia Street. A worker thought they saw two people exchange a gun inside the building a few weeks ago, Scanlon said. The director locked down the building and called police, but nobody on the staff had gone through active shooter training.
"These horrible instances of mass shootings are taking place more and more frequently," Scanlon said. "We have to be prepared."
The SWAT Unit with Buffalo Police now has 90 days to coordinate with the city's parks department to conduct the active shooter training.
"We are at a point in this country where we not only can hope that they don't happen, but we need to be prepared," Scanlon said. "We need to do things to try and prevent them from taking place but also, if they do take place, have people prepared and provide them the knowledge on how to handle this situation."
Steven MacMartin, a homeland security expert at Medaille College, admits he is surprised this type of training isn't more widespread.
"It is what it is," he said. "Society, at this moment in time, is what it is. I think it's just advisable and practical that this training be offered."
MacMartin would like to see private companies also mandate this type of training and he compares its necessity to that of fire drills.
The city hopes by setting this example in public spaces, private companies will soon follow its lead.