NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Dozens of police cars could be seen surrounding the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles Sunday evening, but it was all part of a drill.
About 90 officers, security personnel and law enforcement agents from 17 different agencies were in the mall after hours to take part in an active shooter training exercise.
The Cafaro Company has held similar training exercises at other malls around the country, but this was the first time at the Eastwood Mall.
Eastwood Mall Property Manager Ken Kollar said it is important to be prepared for a worst-case scenario, so they treated the scene like a real mass shooting.
“The police officers, the chief of Niles, they do not know this scenario. They do not know exactly where he is going to be, how it is going to happen, and we are going to try to make it as real as possible,” said Kollar.
Niles Police Chief Ken Criswell said the drill prepares emergency crews for unexpected situations.
“It does prepare them and gets them in that mindset, and we train all year with different scenarios, but this is the largest scale that we have ever done,” said Criswell.
The training exercise was managed by OSS International, a private security and training organization in Columbus, Ohio.