WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The situation in Philadelphia involved a lengthy standoff between police and the gunman.

It's a situation officers train for and need to be prepared for at all times.

We went to the West Springfield Police Department, where we learned there are three main steps that police train for when confronted with an active shooter situation.

"A standoff situation is really an extension of active shooter training," West Springfield Police Sgt. Joseph Lafrance tells us.

Sgt. Lafrance is breaking down how police officers train for a stand off situation, similar to what transpired Wednesday in Philadelphia.

"Once that scene stops with an active shooter, generally, the police are going to be looking to build a perimeter around the house, an exterior, and interior perimeter if possible, and then you are going to want to make the scene safe for residents, safe for the police," says Sgt. Lafrance.

Sgt. Lafrance tells Western Mass News, once a perimeter is set, the focus turns to whoever is inside the building.

"Trying to make contact with the person that they are having a standoff with," said Sgt. Lafrance.

We're told that, many times, a specialist is called in to deescalate the threat.

"Well, the person who is deescalating is someone who is trained and a negotiator. It is quite stressful, but there is particular training that they have. We would probably rely on the State Police for that kind of situation," continued Sgt. Lafrance.

He says there are extreme challenges when it comes to a standoff situation.

"The danger is the person could decide to go active. Once they go active, again, it becomes very dangerous, especially if they are barricaded and shooting out a window, like we had in Philadelphia. They have the advantage of cover and they could fire apon officers," stated Sgt. Lafrance.

He says every situation is unique, but it is important for community members in that area to let police officers do their job.

"If there is a standoff situation, people need to back up and give police space to work. They need to give us the area and the space to handle that safely and properly," added Sgt. Lafrance.

Right now, the West Springfield Police Department is going though active shooter training, something they do regularly every year.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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