Deputies prepare for school shooting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deputies prepare for school shooting

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - If a gunman showed up at your child's school you'd want to know the law enforcers who respond are trained properly.

Tuesday Georgia State troopers trained Thomas County deputies to respond quickly and safely to an active shooter in a classroom.

Officers say it's the type of training law enforcers absolutely need but hope they never have to use.

But with school starting Monday in Thomas county they say they aren't willing to take any chances on keeping kids and teachers safe.

Guns in hand deputies burst through classroom doors at Thomas County Central.

They feel a rush of adrenaline as they walk through the steps they would take if a gunman really were in the school putting children's lives at risk.

"It's all about keeping kids safe. Nothing more important than that," said Sgt. Steven Jones.

"Its designed for the deputy, for that first responder to a scene," said Sgt. Scott Woodell.

Typically active shooter training is reserved for specialized response teams like SWAT.

Tuesday, it's your average patrol officer, deputies, even investigators.

"What usually happens is a deputy contains the area, and is a great witness. Now we're reversing that role. They become the specialized responders."

"We've learned a lot."

Thomas county investigator Pascal Autry has been in law enforcement for 15 years. This is the first time he's received this type of training.

"Time is ticking in situations like this. In the time it would take to wait for a SWAT member, someone could be killed," said Autry.

But the program does more than prepare officers for a dangerous situation at a school.

"We've had other scenarios where this would have been helpful like back two years ago in a hotel," said Autry.

Now, When the bell rings Monday morning trainers with the Georgia State Patrol say parents can rest easy, knowing the people protecting their kids have the tools and the skills to keep them safe.

Next Thursday during the first week of school law enforcers will go through training with teachers and students on what to do in a hostage or other violent situation. They say the most important thing they tell students is to remain calm and do whatever their teacher says.

The school resource officer said the training is something he's been trying to get for several few years.

They plan to make it an annual training course for officers.

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