Members of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office joined multiple area law enforcement agencies yesterday in a training and awareness seminar focusing on school shootings. The 8-hour event was held at Crest Ridge High School, and also included a great turnout of administrators and faculty representatives from a number of Johnson County schools.
The first four hours of the class were spent reviewing the history of school intrusions and shootings, and dissecting each one of them as to the intruders pre-planning and the reactions that resulted from the lack of pre-planning from those in charge of the locations that were chosen as targets. Audio and video from some of the scenes were used to help illustrate specific points. The second four hours of the class included walk-through real-time scenarios of a school intrusion and possible school shooting, and offered a number of practical new tips to the school representatives on making their schools and classrooms safer and how to pre-plan for such a tragedy, while preparing law enforcement on what type of scene to expect upon their arrival. While in years past, school officials were trained to do all they could do to keep their students and staff safe while waiting for law enforcement to arrive, the materials presented yesterday showed how as many as 33 people could be shot and killed in a matter of just a few minutes, long before police could arrive on the scene and find the suspect or suspects.
Eight officers with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office took part in the event, which was designed in part to bring law enforcement and school officials together to make them realize what each of their organizations would be going through in a school intrusion or takeover. Two instructors from Stratego, and company specializing in training for such events worldwide, made the school officials aware that despite the fact that law enforcement puts their lives on the line from the very first dispatch of trouble in even getting to the scene, the teachers and school staff are also "first responders" as they are attempting to save lives in the midst of the actual event, while help is on the way.
Many of the school officials stated that they walked away with a number of new ideas on how to make their schools and classrooms safer, and how to train their teachers and staff to play important roles in keeping students and themselves safe. As one of the instructors stated "No one in Columbine,Sandy Hook,VirginiaTech, or any of these places that have gone through these tragedies woke up that morning and thought 'I'm going to get killed in school today.' but it happened. It happened in their towns and it can happen in yours. We want you to be able to do what you will need to do so that you, and everyone in your school or classroom, will be going home to your families safe if one of these tragedies happens. We're not lying down...we're going home"