Recently the Anson County Sheriff’s Office, along with other local law enforcement agencies, as well as some first responders, began extensive training involving responding to an “Active Shooter.” Planning for this training has been extensive over the past year. In April, along with some of my staff and other county and city officials we spent most of a Saturday in Montgomery County as observers of a full scale training exercise for responding to an active shooter in a school. We also attended an extensive training program in Union County prior to that.
Just two weeks ago, we held the first of three exercises and training sessions. Later this month, we will hold a second similar training exercise for officers not attending the first. The third exercise will be an actual role-play event staged at a site to be chosen later this fall.
This is not our first training in this area. All officers receive this training in their basic law enforcement classes. We have had other similar training events over the years. Several months ago, we employed this training when, while looking for a possible dangerous suspect near Anson Middle School, we locked down the school then eventually evacuated the students to the high school site. It was because of our previous planning and training that this went well.
But things change; response tactics change and recent public events have caused agencies to re-evaluate their level of response. Nationally there have been a number of these tragic events; in both public schools as well as other public arenas. These events can happen anywhere. Responding to them is a lot more complicated that just everyone rushing to the site of some event. The officers are being trained in specific things to do and not do.
Schools and other public venues must take certain precautions to reduce their exposure of this happening to them, as well they should. But there is only so much they can do. These things will happen. Should the unspeakable happen here, you can be assured that your local law enforcement will respond with the best trained and equipped officers who know what to do and how to do it.