Officers go through active shooter training


KILLEN – It was a situation no law enforcement officer wants to be involved in — an active shooter inside an elementary school.

Quickly, officers from various law enforcement agencies in the county worked together as a team, making entry into Brooks Elementary School, assessing the problem and stopping the shooter.

The situation was training, a part of the Advance Law Enforcement Rapid Training, through the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

“This gives law enforcement officers specific instructions on how to handle these types of situations,” said Florence police Lt. Robert Richey, a certified ALERT instructor. “This is not SWAT training, this is for frontline officers, and gives them the training they need to handle a situation like a mass shooting at a school.”

Florence police officers Bill White and John Woodrum along with Jeremy Williams, a state probation officer, worked with Richey to conduct the training.

Richey said the officers learn to work as a team. “All of the instructions are the same, no matter what department they are with,” he said. “So, if there is a situation where several agencies are responding, they will know how to work together and handle the situation as soon as possible.”

Sgt. Terry Woods, of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department, said the training was intense but beneficial.

‘Just in case’

“It’s something that we all needed, just in case this happened here,” Woods said.

He said officers from Lexington and St. Florian joined the Sheriff’s Department in the training.

Lauderdale Sheriff Rick Singleton said the training is now part of an officer’s certification through the Alabama Peace Officer’s Standards and Training. He said all sworn officers must have the training by 2016.

Richey said the program is now taught at the police academy.

“So, everyone that has been to the police academy recently has already had the training, but a lot of officers went to the academy before it was a part of the training,” Richey said. “But it doesn’t matter when they get the training, it is the same. So everyone knows what to do and when to do it, if they are called into these type situations.”

Singleton said for a lot of deputies in his department, it is the first time having the training. He said the training was in two sessions, and each class consisted of 16 hours of hands-on and classroom work.

“It’s a standardized training so every officer will know what to do, what their role is and what the other officers will be doing at all times,” Singleton said. “We hope we are never in a situation that we need this training. But it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or Follow on Twitter @TD_TomSmith.

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