Active Shooter Training
Local Law Enforcement and First Responders Partner for Active Shooter Training
The City of Monroe Police Department, City of Monroe Fire Department, Walton County Fire Rescue, and Walton County Communications Simulate Active Shooter Scenario at Old Monroe Elementary School
Monroe, Georgia (November 16, 2018) – On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, the City of Monroe Police Department, the City of Monroe Fire Department, Walton County Rescue, and Walton County Communications all convened at the old Monroe Elementary School on Bold Springs Avenue for an active shooter training exercise. Coordinated by the City of Monroe’s training officer, Lieutenant Matt McClung, the training spanned three (3) days of intense training and role-playing designed to prepare everyone involved for the threat of an active shooter situation.
When asked why there was a need for active shooter training in Monroe, Assistant Chief Robert Watts had this to say, “The City of Monroe Police Department understands and is aware of current issues and challenges facing law enforcement today. If you look at your television, social media, or just listen to your radio there is not a day that goes by where our public safety personnel aren’t being called upon to act. We feel that by developing, planning, and implementing up to date training methods and equipment we are giving our public safety personnel the best possible chances for success in their daily functions. It is also equally important that all public safety personnel and agencies come together and build networking relationships and understandings of each other’s profession. By doing so it helps us to see things from a bigger picture. A cohesive public safety response is also crucial in the event of an active shooter situation in order to maximize efficiency and ultimately save lives. I am very proud of our agency and the training program we provide. We understand the saying of ‘not if but when’ this happens we will be able to say we were prepared. We also understand that you never cease to strive to be better. By training together with other agencies, we are preparing ourselves for worst case scenarios. This allows us to identify issues and concerns in a controlled environment so we can properly adjust and make corrections. ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’- Benjamin Franklin”
The officers involved role-played through several scenarios that required them to think on their feet and filter through their police training to assess each scenario and adjust accordingly.
As an observer, the scene is one that registers shock and disbelief as flash bangs explode and machine gun fire quickly morphs the senses into fear and disbelief. The feelings of shock and disbelief created such a realistic portrayal of such a heartbreaking scenario that has been experienced by people before. The scariest part is knowing that such an occurrence is so common that detailed training such as this is required to prepare for the unexpected and horrifying possibility of this happening in our town.
After the initial big bangs and clearing of smoke, the officers moved thru the building in search of the gunman and accessing the injured. What was witnessed as a staged training scenario was heartbreaking at best. Role-players were sprawled in different hallways and classrooms. Each with a different injury and all screaming for help, as they were there to portray both students and teachers in the path of the gunman. What was witnessed was both gruesome and terrifying, though it was a simulation, one could only compare it to real-life and gravely sympathize with those involved.
Damage assessed, the officers then began escorting the rescue team in and out of rooms to take all the injured to safety. Once in the “safe zone,” the injured were treated and prepared for transport. Though most of the role-players could communicate whether they were injured or deceased, in real life that would not have been the case. The impact of knowing that some of the teachers and students did not make it was a sobering experience.
The realistic training was informative and gave a glimpse into the preparation that goes into the training for all of those involved if such a situation were to occur. The communication between the departments was top notch and executed to precision. When asked about the coordination of the training, Lieutenant Matt McClung has this to say, “Each department (police, fire, and EMS) are great at their respective jobs, stopping the shooter, rescuing the wounded & treating the injured. The training this week has been to focus on coordination of these efforts to save lives.”
Though congratulations and praise seem out of place considering the subject matter of the training, praise goes to all involved in making it a successful training exercise and experience. The City of Monroe is safer because of the dedication to protect and serve this community.