LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) – The Leon County Sheriff’s Office trained for the unimaginable Thursday, learning how to respond to an active shooter situation at a school.
The annual training came nine days after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Gretna Elementary School was the site of the training where about 24 deputies participated.
The WCTV reporter who covered the training said the situation looked quite real. Deputies were equipped with guns as they tracked down a school shooter during the simulation.
LCSO Sgt. Mike Wallace says the purpose of the training is to prepare deputies to meet the real-world threat head-on, should it ever happen in our backyard.
“We’re hoping that the repetition, through working through a real scenario-based training, and what we call ‘force on force,’ using simulation rounds and giving someone kind of an idea of what they will be faced with in an active shooter situation,” Wallace says.
One deputy who took part in the training said he feels more prepared for an active shooter event.
“There’s a bunch of rooms where we don’t know where we are going, so we rely on, you know, we can save the victims, but basically once we hear shots fired then, we’re just going to stop the bad guys and make sure that we save the day basically,” deputy Shae Campbell says.
Sgt. Wallace says repetition is the key to preparing deputies for active shooter situations.
“We’re hoping that we give them reps and their confidence in their training and their abilities and then their tactics will boost,” he says. “We hope that will kind of equalize that fear because we all know that we can fight fear, but we have to have confidence in our abilities.”
If a situation like this were to happen in real life, the consolidated dispatch center would notify all agencies to report to the scene, where officers will work to stop the shooter.
“This is just a small piece of the puzzle. Yes, we are prepared to respond to a scene, but what we’re trying to do is to get out in front of it. All communities want to get out in front of it, and I think we’re no different,” Sgt. Wallace says.
The City of Gretna allowed law enforcement to use the elementary school as a site for the training. Signs reading “LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING IN PROGRESS” were posted around the school so the community knew that everyone involved was safe.
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