“You react how you train.” This was the catch phrase at the recent active shooter drill at H. W. Wilkey Elementary School.
Officers from the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) and Leitchfield Police Department (LPD) gathered at the K – 5 school to train for the potential emergency of having to deal with a school shooter.
With the number of such shooting incidents sadly on the rise, local law enforcement has worked hard to create effective plans and carry out similarly effective training for officers and school staff and administrators so that everyone knows what to do should these scenarios ever become a reality.
Working on the premise that practice makes perfect, or “you react how you train,” as LPD chief Kevin Henderson and Sheriff Norman Chaffins explained, the officers carried out potential scenarios with fake shooters while school staffers who were on site responded to the ‘threat’ as though it were real.
Wilkey Principal Jonathan Williams and Grayson County High School Assistant Principal Josh Baldwin posed as the ‘shooters’ in a variety of scenarios.
Armed with simulation handguns which shot low-impact paint-tipped rounds, Williams and Baldwin circulated the school acting as the assailants while three-man teams of officers were sent in to handle the crisis situation. The officers also used simulation guns for the exercise.
During each drill scenario, officers located and apprehended the shooter or shooters, often exchanging fire.
Chaffins posed as a hostage during one drill, requiring officers to weigh additional risks and act fast. GSCO Deputy Joey Beasley quickly managed the hostage situation by making an efficient head-shot to take out the assailant who was hiding behind his hostage.
“That’s exactly what we want,” Chaffins said, pointing out that while the precisely-placed bullet grazed his ear, it would have also saved his life.
“You’ve got to make a split-second decision,” Chaffins told the officers, explaining that there is no time for deep contemplation during a real shooter situation. “If there are kids already down, you have got to do something. You do the best you can.’
Henderson told the group, “It’s much worse in real life.’
School staff members who were present had an opportunity to bring their own questions and concerns to the training as well.
Staff member Jennifer Logsdon expressed that the drills are a great opportunity for teachers and administrators to prepare as well, adding, “It’s helpful to hear the lingo that would be used in this situation.”
These type of drills have become more common for local officers in the past year, and will continue into the future as law enforcement works toward creating the best possible plans and prevention methods to keep local children safe.
Reach Brittany Wise at 270-259-9622 ext. 2014.