VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Changing times and evolving threats demand new police tactics.
“Today’s officer must also be equipped to respond to cyberbreaches, terror attacks, active shooters and other emerging threats,” Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said.
At the county’s revamped police academy and crime lab in Valhalla, all police cadets now train for an active shooter, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
“What was once a sophisticated specialty is now taught to every recruit because they’re all counterterrorism experts on the street now,” Astorino said.
Police Capt. Paul Stasaitis can reconfigure movable plywood walls to imitate any scenario — a hallway, an office, a school room.
“It used to be, ‘Oh, wait till you get four guys’ and, ‘Wait till you get three guys.’ No, now it’s first cop on the scene, go to the sound of the shooting and stop the threat,” Stasaitis said.
The updated lab still processes fingerprints, digital evidence and ballistics. Astorino is particularly proud of a new 3-D laser scanner that creates a sweeping panoramic digital record of a crime scene, replacing photographs.
But Lab Director Sgt. James Harrison can also scan sensitive locations to create a digital map for first responders.
“Say you were presented with an active shooter in a school, you could go in and scan the school beforehand, and our responding team would have an idea where the furniture is, and not just what the layout or the blueprint of the building is,” he said.