From tactical to practical


It's a scenario no one wants to think about, but police departments across the country must be prepared for it just the same — active shooters in buildings, on the street, anywhere the public gathers.

This week, University of Akron police officers are being trained to handle these very real scenarios using Portable Training Facilities (PTFs), technology that has not been used before to train an Ohio university police force.

PTFs are composed of collapsible wall panels that can be assembled to mimic the interior structure of a building or home. They come with multiple floor plans that can be reassembled into several different layouts, which give officers a realistic training experience, preparing them for almost anything.

The state of Ohio’s new Portable Training Facility (PTF) units are designed to train patrol officers on techniques for responding to active shooter incidents.

Designed primarily for patrol officers who are usually first on the scene involving an active shooter, PTFs also can be used to train officers on responding to unknown disturbances or on conducting a building search.

UAPD Chief Paul Callahan said that when the mobile training facility first became available in October, the University jumped at the opportunity to bring it to campus. The training is being held through Thursday, Dec. 19, at UA's Quaker Square Ballroom. Patrol officers from Summa Health System are also attending the training.

Skills to match the situation

More often than not, it's front line officers, not special response teams, who find themselves in high-risk situations. It is important that patrol officers get the chance to practice and sharpen their skills in responding to these types of emergencies, says Callahan.

"The training is important because it provides real-life scenarios that officers are likely to face. Rather than just qualifying at a pistol range, our officers have the opportunity to face situations that have occurred around the country or world, and even some that haven't occurred but are certainly possible," Callahan said. "We are excited about this new training being provided by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) and appreciate the fact that we were chosen to be the first department to receive the training."

The facilities are part of OPOTA's Mobile Academy program launched by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in 2012. The PTFs were first introduced in October 2013. OPOTA's Mobile Academy revolutionizes the approach to law enforcement training by bringing the training tools to the officers, instead of requiring officers to travel to an OPOTA site. In addition to the PTFs, OPOTA's Mobile Academy also gives officers access to driving and firearm simulators which contain hundreds of realistic scenarios. OPOTA also provides expert instructors to conduct the training, most of which is available at no cost to local agencies.

Media contact: Laura Massie, 330-972-6476 or