STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Members of the Starkville Police Department conducted a series of training exercises Sunday evening.
The department has turned to Mississippi State's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems to help strengthen the department's tactical operations.
The series of exercises helps them better prepare for a hostage situation and potential active shooter at an industrial site.
"We're going to be evaluating how our team responds to a large industry, a potential hostage situation," adds Lt. Mark Ballard. "We're looking to evaluate communications, how we're going to evacuate injured, the techniques and tools that we would use depending on how the situation changes."
When it comes to training for something of this magnitude, the officers will be the first to tell you that communication is everything.
"Every situation is different, and you never know," adds Officer Joshua Bucker. "You have to be able to respond to anything. Like you said, active shooter. One of our worst nightmares. You have to be on point and ready to respond. So, communication, coordination with other agencies, is very vital."
The department conducts training exercises like this one several times a year, and in addition to brushing up their skills, it also gives the officers a chance to see what a real-world experience is like.
"When things go down -- especially dealing with SWAT -- when SWAT is called out, it's usually intense, high intense situations, and you rely on your muscle memory," adds Buckner. "So, the more that we train, like we're doing today, the more apt we are to flow smoothly when something happens,"
The police department has turned to a robotics system lab at Mississippi State University to see how drones can be of use to the department during an active shooter drill.
"We're trying to make them a force multiplier to kind of help make their jobs safer, and to increase the ability to gather information in SWAT-type environments and incidents," added Cindy Bethel, director of the Social Therapeutic Robotics System Lab.
With the help of enhanced team movements and dynamics of a tactical environment the police feel they are better equipped for a rescue operation.