To Simulate a Shooting, Vermont State Police Occupy Burlington Town Center | Off Message

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Friday, February 7, 2014

To Simulate a Shooting, Vermont State Police Occupy Burlington Town Center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 7:18 AM

click to enlarge _mg_2688_1.jpg

It was only a drill. Five Vermont state troopers were moving through Burlington Town Center on Thursday evening, when suddenly, they came under fire. Four journalists had infiltrated the deserted mall and wouldn't stop shooting at them. 

Click. Click. Click. 

Undettered by the paparazzi's cameras, the troopers went on with their demonstration, proceeding from the mall's Bank Street entrance in a diamond formation, making their way down to the J. Crew store with guns drawn, turning around and exiting the way they came.  

click to enlarge _mg_2691_1.jpg

"I'm a little worried," Lt. Michael Manley, commander of the tactical team, said when they had left the building. "Is this placed locked up? The last thing I want is some old lady coming around the corner and seeing five guys with guns."

Their guns weren't loaded, and Travis Ploof, director of mall security, assured Manley that the only people still around — aside from the press corps — were janitorial staff members who had been alerted to the drills taking place that evening. 

An hour earlier, the tactical unit had been at Charlotte Central School. There, Captain Timothy Clouatre explained in an interview, police negotiators had practiced what to do in the event a school is locked down. Now in the Burlington mall, they were focusing on how to handle a shooting scenario. 

From left to right: Travis Ploof, Capt. Timothy Clouatre, Lt. Michael Manley, Lt. Ryan Miller

A negotiating team had set up a command center next to the mall's escalators, where they were joined by several members of the Burlington police department. 

This evening of training wasn't prompted by any particular event, but rather the simple availability of the space, according to Clouatre. "It's utilizing a real mall, which is a wide, open space," he said. "Sometimes we get to use a bus or a train, but it's not often we get to use a mall or a school."


click to enlarge _mg_2705_1.jpg







Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Charles Eichacker

Charles Eichacker

Charles Eichacker was a staff writer for Seven Days.

More By This Author


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Off Message

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation