In a forest in Webster County, a group of law enforcement officers gather to be briefed on a situation.
A suspicious man has been shooting at people in the woods. Though nobody has been killed, the officers want to make sure the shooter can be found before something like that happens.
Fortunately, this is only a simulation. But if something like this actually did happen, those officers would know how to respond thanks to the Homeland Security Training Center at Iowa Central Community College.
Iowa State University Police patrol officer Ryan Meenagh runs through a shooting course Tuesday morning as part of a Iowa Central Community College Homeland Security Training Center training session west of Fort Dodge.
On Tuesday, officers from all across Iowa participated in an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training session, which was put on by the training center.
Chuck Masterson, a training officer with the West Des Moines Police Department, was one of the instructors during Tuesday's simulation.
"We try to do a session at least once a month," he said. "It all comes down to funding and scheduling. We try to stay away from holidays so everybody has a chance to participate."
Training is offered to law enforcement agencies across Iowa for free, according to Masterson. He said this training helps departments that, due to budget restrictions, may not be able to hold their own training sessions.
"With only a small amount of money, you can only do so much," he said.
The simulation that was happening Tuesday was known as open air shooting, according to Masterson. This involves a shooting situation that goes on outside.
Also known as Level II training, the course "was originally designed to assist rural law enforcement officers working along the volatile southern U.S.-Mexican border," according to the course's description.
"Over the years it has proven to be beneficial to offers from any type of agency locale," the description went on to say.
Masterson described the officers participating in Tuesday's program as "outstanding."
"They're really motivated," he said. "They're here because they want to be here."
Brian Moore, of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, had already completed ALERRT I training in Red Oak, but this was his first time taking the level II class.
"It's gone very well," he said. "We're getting a lot of information, but it's a good group and the instructors are great."
Moore said the training provided by the center is valuable to all officers.
"It's keeping the tactics fresh," he said. "Some people get into a routine and this helps them to not do that. It's all about officer's safety."
"It teaches us how to handle situations safely so we can go home at night," he added.
Iowa State University Police Officer Ryan Meenagh said Tuesday was his first time training with Homeland Security.
"It's been a blast," he said. "The training has been extremely useful."
Meenagh said the training would be able to help him in case an emergency happens on campus.
"There have been a lot of active shooters at universities, so this training is very important for me," he said.
He added the training puts an emphasis on teamwork, which he said was the most important part of the training.
"You need to figure out how to move, give and receive commands and keep safe," he said.
Meenagh said he thinks all officers should work with the center.
"Every officer in the state should go through this," he said. "The training is very important."