Active shooter training to improve safety in local schools

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As students enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, law enforcement is studying up on security drills in local schools.

Part of the ALERT Active Shooter Response class for basic patrol officers, multiple law enforcement agencies gathered within Waccamaw High School on Friday to prepare for the worst case scenario.

"It is unfortunate you have to plan for these situations, across the country there have been active shooter events in schools and other businesses," said Sgt. Gary Todd with the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office.

This is the first time the GCSO has held this type of hands-on training. It will also be the first school year the district has a director of security and risk management.

The new position launched new security measures at the school. This includes a camera system and a controlled access hallway that visitors must pass through before running their names in a national database.

"We're spending more than a million dollars this summer on security enhancements. We've learned teachers can't do their job and students can't learn if they are distracted with concerns about their safety," said Alan Walters, the newly appointed Director of Safety and Risk Management with the Georgetown County School District.

In addition to physical security, the school district also launched a new app for students and parents to anonymously submit security issues to administration.

A training program for staff will also be put into place throughout this academic year.

"We will be training our staff about what will happen during an active shooter situation. If an officer enters into the building during that situation, they are not going to stop to talk to the principal or teacher, they are going right by them to find the threat and eliminate it," explained Director Walters.

While those law enforcement officers are targeting the offender, instructors hope tactics from this training will help them quickly, and safely, end the situation.

"We run different scenarios throughout the day. There couldbe barricaded individuals, a hostage situation, or a lone shooter held upin a hallway," said Sgt. Todd.

The training will continue at the high school on Monday and Tuesday.

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