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      Ithaca Police prepare response plan for situations like Newtown, Columbine

      In light of tragedies involving gun violence and mass shootings in recent years, Ithaca Police are making sure they're prepared to handle a similar incident.

      Officers spent Thursday afternoon doing a training session to better prepare themselves if confronted by an active shooter.

      The Law Enforcement Active Shooter Response is a two day, 16-hour certification course endorsed by the Homeland Security Department.

      Police say their response to active shooter incidents has changed over the last 15 years, most notably since the school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

      In the past, officers have waited for the SWAT Team to arrive and handle the situation. But that means waiting for them to respond, coordinating a game plan and then implementing a strategy while innocent victims are left at risk.

      The more recent approach involves training every officer to respond to the scene of any active shooter incident, locating the suspect and stopping them as soon as possible.