Valdosta Police Department release active shooter safety guidelines

Valdosta Police said they issue PSA to prepare the community for possible tragedies.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 8:12 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - On Monday, six people, including three children, lost their lives after an active shooter entered an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Valdosta Police Department (VPD) released an active shooter guidance video on Facebook, not even a week before the recent Nashville shooting which has gained more attention.

VPD Chief Leslie Manahan said they issued public service announcements to prepare the community for things that could possibly happen.

“You know, in November, we had an incident that happened here at Valdosta High School, and everybody was responding to the school. Including your first responders. Well, the traffic was so bad we couldn’t have, heaven forbid if something had happened, we wouldn’t have been able to get our ambulances in there, and we couldn’t have got them out. So, what we do ask is that please do not respond to the scene,” Manahan said.

There have been 376 school shootings since the 1999 Columbine tragedy, according to the Washington Post. They said there were 46 school shootings in 2022 alone— exceeding any other year since 1999.

“We have parents that want to run in and get their child, and we had a situation like that in November,” Chief, said. “We don’t know who the threat is. If someone comes across those lines with a firearm, and we do not know them as law enforcement. We’re going to take our attention away from what we need to be doing and put it on a situation that we should not have to deal with.”

When sharing these tips with parents in Valdosta, they said it was heartbreaking that they even had to prepare families and students for such a thing.

“As a parent that would probably be something hard to do because that’s my child,” Samantha Mullikin, said. “Hearing that I would try my best to follow what’s being said, but parental instincts would kick in. And I probably would be there.”

The topic of active shooter response training is on the rise in Southwest Georgia.

“Well, a lot of it is your time and response. You cannot over-train in a situation like this. And that’s the biggest thing that we can always stress. The more that we train, for the best response we can get, that’s what we want to do,” Chief, said.

Law enforcement agencies across the country have learned that ensuring parents know what to do when a threat is announced is crucial. Especially after the recent Uvalde situation.

“When you’re calling the school and you’re calling 911 what that does is block the phone lines. Which doesn’t allow us to get the information that we do need from people who may be inside,” Chief, said. “We understand completely that parents want to know. And I couldn’t imagine the thoughts that go through parents’ minds when those situations come out.”

Chief Manahan from the Valdosta Police Department said they like to put these videos out while...
Chief Manahan from the Valdosta Police Department said they like to put these videos out while school is in session. She says they will have more before school starts next year.(Source: WALB)

In the most recent year tracked by the FBI, there were 61 active shooter incidents.

“It’s not something that you would expect. Especially happening to you. You hear about it. You don’t really think oh that’s going to happen here. It’s just not normal. This was not happening before, and now it’s happening more often. It’s sad that it’s becoming the norm,” Mullikin, said.

Valdosta Police Department has issued several PSAs to have the community prepared and aware. In the event, an active shooter is in our area.