With the new school year fast approaching, Laurens Police Department yesterday used an actual school location to sponsor a multi-jurisdictional training for first responders in the event of a school tragedy, such as the event last fall in Newtown, CT. Laurens Police Chief Sonny Ledda said “Heaven forbid we have to use this training.” Ledda told WLBG that this type of training began right after the Columbine, Colorado shooting.
Laurens E.B. Morse Elementary School was used to provide an actual site location with the cooperation of School District 55.
The training was provided by The South Carolina State Guard’s Provost Marshall’s Department’s Mobil Training Team, using the same training methods as those used by The United States Navy and Special Forces. It consisted of different scenarios of school emergency situations. In the case of a school shooter, police were trained in actual hallway situations, to identify and eliminate the threat. Yesterday’s training involved different ways for approaching the gunman, while allowing for different types of entrances and classrooms.
Also taught was non verbal communication between officers, how to work around obstructions in the hallways, and how to usher innocent students in the line of fire to safety.
Emergency workers and Firefighters were given instructions of their own on how to establish a secure location, and when to enter the actual scene.
Other situations were considered in the training, such as the presence of a bomb or hazardous materials.
Assistant Superintendent George Ward said “This is the beginning of a new process of reevaluating school safety; it began last school year with the installation of cameras and door buzzers in the district’s schools. We are working closely with law enforcement to protect our children.”
Educators attending the training were from Laurens, Clinton, Simpsonville, Union and Presbyterian College.