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Past shootings have shaped the way Yakima police respond to deadly situations

Past shootings have shaped the way Yakima police respond to deadly situations

YAKIMA, Wash.- Hundreds were wounded and almost 60 people were killed in the Las Vegas shooting this weekend, but police use tragic events like this to better their response to shooter situations.

Mike Bastinelli with the Yakima Police Department said a lot of the training they do is from shootings that have happened in our history.

"While we not might not have something specifically from Las Vegas, we do learn from other incidents that have occurred across the country," he said.

Responding to an active shooter changed after Columbine because a lot more lives could have been saved if they had done things differently.

"The swat team waited before they entered the school,” Bastinelli said. “That cost lives."

Bastinelli says police officers in Yakima now enter the building and engage the shooter immediately to try and stop the threat.

If there was a shooting similar to Vegas, police would be able to take control of the Emergency Operations Center on the second story of the police station.

Charles Erwin is the centers specialist. He says firefighters and police would have behind the scenes support to stop a deadly situation.

"We would look at their resources to compliment what they are doing, because if you have a big standoff you still have to do day to day chores,” Erwin said. “You can't just have everybody out there."

The center also makes sure that all the first responders have enough resources to do their jobs on the ground.

If they run out of something, it’s up to the people in the room to get them what they need.

"Equipment can come from the state. It can come from the military. Tell us what you need and we'll do it," Erwin said.

Bastinelli told Action News there is no way to really prepare for something like what happened in Vegas, but wants people to be aware of their surrounding at all times.

Especially in Yakima where there are festivals and events all the time. Sometimes just knowing where you would go if something happened, can make all the difference.

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