Downtown Kansas City undergoes active shooter training

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An emergency drill involving an active shooter shut down city hall for two hours Friday. The training is designed to help city employees know how best to respond to workplace violence and help visitors stay safe.

Seeing or hearing an armed man enter and start shooting is a scary situation at any workplace.

That was the scenario in the floor-by-floor drill for more than 600 workers at city hall.
On the 22nd floor a simulated shooter forced his way into the city council offices, looking for Councilman John Sharp.

Employees received training prior to the exercise, advising them to run, hide or fight when confronted by an active shooter.

In a tall building like city hall, many employees chose to hide at the sound of gunshots.

"It is a reality of the world we live in now," said Chris Hernandez, city communications manager. "We see these sorts of drills happening in schools, and we decided as a public leader we needed to have that drill not only for our employees, but to set an example for the city. We would encourage private businesses, people who work in large buildings, to do similar drills."

Afterwards, there was a debriefing with city workers, where police and emergency responders provided an assessment on how they handled the situation. City employees were able to ask questions and were given feedback on how the exercise could have been more realistic. Some workers told FOX 4 News they appreciated having the training.

"It is a scary scenario, and one that needs to be taken seriously," said Joyce Vidovich, a city employee. "I think our staff did a really fine job. We appreciate the opportunity to do this on the council floor."

Security experts say in many cases, workplace violence is most likely to be the result of a domestic dispute.

Police also say active shooters usually look for easy targets out in the open, and often don't take the time to search for individuals who are hidden.