Mall officials teamed up with Henrico County authorities and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure the center is ready should a gunman ever be at large on the property.
Mass shootings–they’re an unfortunate reality of the world in which we live today, and they’re something the management of Short Pump Town Center, one of the region’s largest open-air malls, hopes they never have to respond to.
Should a gunman ever be at large on the property though, officials want to ensure they have a plan of action in place. Short Pump management teamed up with Henrico County’s Police and Fire Divisions, along with agents from the Department of Homeland Security Sunday morning to carry out a safety drill to prepare for just that.
The training exercise took place on the lower level of the mall near the Macy’s department store and involved more than 200 volunteers to act as injured or killed patrons, as well as at-large gunmen.
“Safety is a priority for Short Pump Town Center and we are continually reviewing and improving our training programs, said mall Vice President and General Manager Kem Blue. “Unfortunately, active shooters have become a fact of life and these situations are no longer ‘unthinkable,’ particularly for those responsible for spaces where people congregate, such as schools, churches and shopping centers.”
“Short Pump Town Center reached out to the Henrico County Police/Fire Divisions, along with U.S. Homeland Security, to assist us in conducting an in- depth training exercise,” Blue continued. “We look at this as a proactive measure designed to improve our responsiveness to potential risks that, unfortunately, are part of the world we live in today.”
“Planning for this exercise has been underway for months,” said Douglas Middleton, Henrico County Chief of Police. “We applaud Short Pump Town Center for their leadership and collaboration on this exercise which ultimately helps all of us keep Henrico County safe.”
Henrico County officials and Short Pump Town Center will incorporate information gained and lessons learned into their ongoing safety information programs following a debriefing of the exercise Monday morning.
Photos: Henrico Police