Shots rang out and paint balls splattered inside the deserted halls of the old Long Hotel Tuesday, as tactical teams with the Stephenville Police Department brushed up on their “active shooter” skills - a training officers have participated in since 2000.

Police Chief Roy Halsell said the training began after the Columbine High School massacre, which occurred on April 20, 1999, in Colorado, resulting in the death of 12 students and one teacher.

“Before Columbine, SWAT teams were trained to ‘stabilize’ a situation before entering a building where there was an active shooter,” Halsell said. “After Columbine, law enforcement came to realize that doesn’t work, so tactics and procedures were developed for officers to go in, secure the scene, then neutralize the situation.”   

Using fake ammunition, officers staged various scenes, where officers were charged with taking down an active shooter. Some of the scenes involved hostage situations.

“It’s a very affective way to train our officers,” Halsell said. “If a similar situation were to arise here, we would be prepared.”