Local law enforcement and school staff simulate school shootings

As the school safety presentations came to a close at the April Pendleton County Board of Education meeting and the board members were hearing about the possibility of arming staff, a clear plan of action materialized to Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples. One that would provide more information for those tasked with making tough decision on school safety.

“The Fire Arms Training Simulator was my idea after the school board meeting. It was brought down to allow county officials, schools staff, and school board members to be placed in a “shoot, don’t shoot” situation and to see how fast those decisions need to be made,” explained Sheriff Peoples.

The FATS program puts the participant through several scenarios after a brief training session on using the weapon. It is a Glock 17 firearm  that would be issued to law enforcement officers except for having a training barrel.

Sheriff Peoples allowed me to go through the training with Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer Jared Brewer to have a firsthand account of what each person faces.

In the first scenario, an upset parent is in the front and is ranting and raving. I am armed but my weapon is in it’s holster when I  enter the office. With almost 28 years of experience in the Pendleton County schools handling very challenging situations, I was able to de-escalate the situation by talking the parent down.

As a participant, you are also being viewed via camera and the computer has the on-screen individuals react to your actions.

Officer Brewer indicated that while I was able to calm the parent down, others had not and were punched by the upset parent or had a chair thrown at them.

In my second scenario, I enter a hallway with a student lying in the hallway sprawled, students running at me yelling, “He’s got a gun!” while others are running down the hallway the opposite direction. Also, in a doorway is a male with his back to me, fidgeting with something. Several times, I ask him to show me his hands and ask him either if he is okay or does he know where the shooter is. As he turns around, there is obviously a piece of metal in his hands. I hesitate on shooting and he is holding a phone. He tells me that he has called 911.

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