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Police respond to a country dance bar Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire late Wednesday with hundreds of people on "college night." 

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- After Wednesday night's deadly shooting in California, bar owners in western Massachusetts explain the security measures they take to keep their customers safe.

As the country reels from this act of violence, it's bringing attention to security protocols in local bars and gathering places.

It's also highlighting the shift in law enforcement practices for those officers who respond to deadly shootings.

Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri told Western Mass News that the Columbine school shootings forever changed the way law enforcement responds to gun violence.

"We began to train our officers to go right into the sounds of shots fired, not to wait to form up teams as rapidly as possible. To go in solo if necessary, and to engage the shooter and eliminate the threat," Barbieri explained.

When Sergeant Ron Helus ran arrived at the Borderline Bar and Grill in southern California Wednesday night for what would be his last emergency, he didn’t hestitate to run in.

"It's certainly one of the risks that we warn people about in regards to becoming a public safety officer," Barbieri added.

"We are currently not open right now, we're looking for a date sometime within two weeks. I mean, it definitely raises a bunch of concerns especially being new in the industry," Barbieri continued.

Keno White works for Exchange Street Station, a soon-to-open bar in Chicopee. He said this incident makes the need for stepped up security paramount.

"We're looking at their demeanor the way that they're dressed. Are they wearing some kind of article of clothing where they could conceal a weapon. Perhaps we will be doing pat downs and metal pat-downs and metal wanding," White added.

When the bar does open, White said they'll have two levels of security one guard here at the top of the stairs, and another guard at the bottom.

"Some of the bouncers and security here will be retired police officers who are already trained in the field," White noted.

Both Barbieri and White came back to the advice often heard about how these shootings can be prevented.

"You ask the public to be highly alert, they should be aware of their surroundings," said Barbieri.

"We're looking at their demeanor, the way that they're dressed," said White.

Both White and Barbieri shared the feeling of helplessness, for when they can't be.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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