North Carolina Deputies Train for Active Shooter Scenario

A group of screaming deputies in plain clothes, simulating panicked students and teachers, charged out of a classroom toward each trainee. In some scenarios, the gunman surrendered, and in others, a deputy had to shoot.

by Lindell J. Kay, The Wilson Daily Times, N.C. / August 7, 2019

(TNS) — Parents’ worst nightmare: a gunman loose in their child’s school.

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office trained Tuesday at Hunt High School for just such a scenario.

Deputies jogged in place to get their heart rate up, which simulates the adrenaline flow of an actual school shooting, said Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Barbrey.

One by one, deputies entered the school cafeteria with an unknown assailant — played by a detention officer — firing blanks down a hallway lined with lockers.

Wounded victims present an obstacle during a shooting situation where the gunman is still firing shots, Barbrey said. He instructed trainees to continue down the hall toward the ringing gunfire.

“Every shot is another child going down,” Barbrey told a deputy who took too long with a mock victim.

Active Shooter Safety

With recent mass shootings around the country, local emergency management officials are sharing the following FEMA preparedness information.

During an active shooter event, every second counts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends making a family plan to stay safe:

• Know the safety plans of your school, workplace and house of worship.

• When visiting a building, identify two nearby exits and places to hide.

If confronted with an active shooter:

• RUN and escape, if possible;

• HIDE, if escape is not possible;

• FIGHT as an absolute last resort.

If you or your family are distressed by recent events, you can get support from the 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.

A group of screaming deputies in plain clothes, simulating panicked students and teachers, charged out of a classroom and ran directly toward each trainee. All while the gunman continued to fire shots.

In some scenarios the gunman surrendered and sometimes a deputy had to shoot him.

Sheriff Calvin Woodard said the training is tense on purpose in order to help deputies learn how to handle such nerve-racking situations.

Woodard said the training has been planned for weeks and isn’t a reaction to weekend violence in Texas and Ohio; but he and all his deputies remain keenly aware of what occurred — and the importance of being prepared.

At least 31 people died last weekend in mass shootings. In El Paso, Texas, a suspect accused of killing 22 people faces hate crime and capital murder charges. A Dayton, Ohio, shooting claimed the lives of nine people. The suspect in that shooting is dead.

Wilson County residents have voiced concern about the scary situations. Carole Taylor of Stantonsburg called the newspaper to say she’s worried about the shootings and violence.

“If people would just learn to love one another and get rid of some of this hate, it would be better for everybody,” Taylor said. “I believe that with all my heart.”

Woodard said he hopes Wilson County never experiences such a tragedy, but his deputies are preparing in case it does.

Barbrey trained at the N.C. Justice Academy in Salemburg to be an active shooter response instructor. He guided deputies from every division of the sheriff’s office in the training.

Patrol deputies, detention officers, detectives and civil and administration deputies all participated in the training because an active shooter situation can happen anywhere at any time, said Wanda Samuel, chief of staff at the sheriff’s office.

Deputies drilled for an active shooter scenario at the courthouse a few weeks ago, Samuel said.

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©2019 The Wilson Daily Times (Wilson, N.C.)

Visit The Wilson Daily Times (Wilson, N.C.) at www.wilsontimes.com

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