HUMBLE -- At Humble Middle School officers from various police agencies ran drills Wednesday to learn how to fight society s newest villain: the erratic gunman bent on killing.

No longer can officers sit and wait for SWAT, instructor Glenn Gold said. We have to go inside the building and take care of the problem just like they did in Colorado.

Thanks to government funding, the state s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program (ALERT) has been training officers from around the country for years.

Formed after the Columbine shootings, ALERT has built on the lessons learned from Virginia Tech, Fort Hood and now--the Aurora theater shooting.

Police learn to act fast in hands-on situations inspired by actual scenarios. They practice with special Glock guns which hold pellets made with soap.

Though officers realize that nothing can truly prepare them for the real thing, they know that there is no better place to practice than a real-life environment.

That really drives the point home that that s why we re doing this, said one Houston-area officer. We re trying to save lives.

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