• Police stage terrorism exercise at Fort Gillem

    By: Steve Gehlbach

    Updated:

    FOREST PARK, Ga. - Forest Park police staged a terrorism exercise at Fort Gillem Thursday. 

    Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach was in Clayton County, where he watched mock terrorists "take over" a building. 

    Gehlbach spoke with police officials about what they hope to get out of the annual exercise and the drills they conducted.

    "Their duties were to go in as quickly as possible but still safely and take out the threats," said Maj. Chris Matson, with the Forest Park Police Department.

    The scenario: Four heavily armed suspects take over building 900 at Fort Gillem, killing simulated victims outside, wounding others.

    Officers “quickly arrived” after calls of shots fired, multiple shooters and people down. They engaged one gunman outside the front doors.

    No longer a full base, the enclave is one of the only U.S. military installations where they don't have their own security guarding the facility. 


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    Instead of MPS first responding, it's Forest Park Police Department.

    The officers took out the one gunman in the scenario, then went in to clear the building as some inside evacuated, and others "wounded" escaped.

    Trying to make it as real as possible, they fired real guns, but with simulated rounds of small paint pellets that can still hurt.

    "You still get that same, relatively close to that same feeling as if it were a real situation," Matson said.

    The exercise was also a chance for hundreds of military and civilian personnel who work there every day to practice their active shooter training.

    "Because anything can happen, outside perpetrator or even an insider threat, so we have to be ready at all times for what may happen during the duty day," Sgt. Major Debbie Williams said.

    It’s the sixth year for the annual exercise and expanded to treating patients not only on the scene, but into ambulances and on to the hospital, simulating a mass casualty event.

    From the first shots to the last pretend bag guy down in a second floor office, it lasted only 26 minutes.

    They'll now go back and review and see what they can improve.

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