ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Campuses across Southwest Georgia are training more and more to handle shooter situations like the tragedy that unfolded at Florida State University.
Students and staff never expect it could happen at their own school. But in seconds, at any hour, a shooter can enter a college or university campus. That's why campus police at schools throughout Southwest Georgia are doing everything they can to prevent that kind of threat.
"You don't want to be complacent. Just because things are going good now, said ASU Campus Police Chief John Fields, Jr. "You have to always think Safety."
Schools like Albany State University, Darton State and Albany Tech train monthly. Active shooter drills are held on campus at least once a year and officers are often sent to drills and training throughout the state.
They're trained to respond to the shooter before state, city and county authorities even arrive. Anything can do to prevent any number of victims or casualties.
"You can't wait for a SWAT team. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour," added Chief Fields. "The way we train now is that we have to go ahead and engage the active shooter."
Procedures are also in place to alert the students, staff and parents, on and off campus, of a lock down, to hide and stay quiet. Alerts can be sent by phone, over the school intercom and by email.
"We have the capabilities to send out whatever message we need to send," said Darton State College Police Chief James Brackin. "We also have an outdoor warning siren that we can program different messages into."
"It's definitely very comforting to know that they have procedures in place and they know what to do, God forbid that ever happened here," said Darton State College Student, Allison Goddard.
These types of shootings seem to be happening more frequently across the nation, the latest tragedy at FSU hitting all too close to home. Police say they will continue to update their procedures and equipment as they learn more from these crimes to keep their campuses safe.