HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Recent mass shootings, like the Aurora movie theater massacre, have many looking to the people meant to keep the public safe and how they prepare for that kind of deadly situation.
Police officers are always sharpening their skills. For Horry County Police, that includes active shooter training as part of their training regimen.
Sgt. Robert Kegler with the Horry County Police Department says each sworn in officer goes through the special training every year. The training is meant to resemble a real life shooter situation. To make that happen, training is done on location at a school. Kegler says officers are prepared to apply the skills they learn at the school training to other environments.
"It can happen anywhere, of any building, of any size," Sgt. Kegler says.
Instructors use the space of the building to recreate a scenario with a shooter on the loose. Officers take on different roles. Some play the role of the shooter and others act as members of the public who are in danger. The first batch of responding officers are trained to handle the number one priority which is to take out the shooter. The next round of responding officers begin the search and rescue portion.
Sgt. Kegler says the department has used schools in Horry County for the annual training since the early 90's.
"We have the benefit of being able to utilize the schools. We have a good working relationship with the district. We have the ability to use them during the summer months in order to prepare ourselves," Sgt. Kegler remarks.
Once the kids are on summer recess, the department takes over a local school for a week of training. They invite other local law enforcement agencies to participate.
"All the cities within Horry County are going to be the first responders to a school, a mall, wherever an incident such as this is going to be happening. So they're the ones we have train with us," explained Kegler.