CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Sunday night, authorities at the Walden Galleria took a crucial step to keep shoppers safe. Shortly after the mall shut down for the evening, Cheektowaga Police and other first responders stormed in to take down a mock active shooter.
“A shooter would be going through a shopping center with intent on harming people and the police attempt on stopping them,” said Walden Galleria’s Security Director Vince Cicchini.
The training exercise helps to prepare law enforcement in the event a mass shooter were to take over a local shopping center. Cicchini says it will also help train his team. “It gives my people the security department as well a chance to experience what would happen if something unfortunate like that were to take place.”
Two drills were performed Sunday night, one from 8:00 until 11:00 p.m. and then the next from 12:30 to 3:30 a.m. “The scenario has been kept at the police level. I haven’t been privileged to it until the final hour,” said Cicchini. He says each drill includes two hours of training and then an hour where the scenario plays out.
Their goal is by practicing they’ll be equipped to handle a shooter inside a shopping center, with the hope they never have to use the skills they’ve learned. “We just want to make sure we’re prepared in the event something like that were to happen,” said Cicchini. Another training drill will take place at Walden Galleria on June 22.