Ben Hill, Fitzgerald officers train for school hostage situation
FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) -
South Georgia law enforcers are getting realistic training on how to deal with a school shooting.
It's something they hope they never have to put into practice, but after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, they know they have to be prepared.
The Fitzgerald Police Department and other agencies plan to be prepared to act quickly if a shooter comes into a school. They've been training for two days to make sure they are ready for action.
In case of an active shooter in a school or a hostage situation, officers need to think and react quickly.
"You'll have bodies on top of bodies, because time is of the essence here. When we get the call, it's already happening. The longer we wait to stop this threat, the more casualties you'll have," Sheriff McLemore said.
The Fitzgerald Police Department, Ben Hill Sheriff's Office and the Wilcox County Sheriff's Office are getting hands-on training involving rifles, handguns and shotguns.
Law enforcers say these exercises are hard to prepare for, but now is a good time to train.
"After Newtown, we decided it's time to do it. Let's go through the obstacles and let's make it happen and we did", Sheriff McLemore said.
Officers say these training exercises are all about adapting to any situation.
The drill will also train officers to work as a team and to understand that a situation can change in a split second.
"You don't have seconds to adapt. That's why we train. We train like we fight and we fight like we train. And I honestly believe that. And they have to revert back to their training and hopefully this is what will keep them alive," Major James Reynolds said.
Sheriff McLemore says their number one goal is to stop the threat and clear the scene so emergency responders can come in safely and treat anyone that is hurt.
The Fitzgerald Police Department plans to hold more exercises like the school shooting scenario on a regular basis.
Fitzgerald High School, where the training took place, was closed for spring break during the shooting exercises.
No students or teachers were in the building at the time of the school shooting scenarios.