In response to the tragic school shootings that have occurred across the country in recent years, Polk County Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow has implemented a new training program that trains all patrol deputies to take immediate and decisive action in the event of an in-progress school shooting. This interactive scenario-based training is taking place this Summer at various Polk County schools. The media is invited to attend a training session to be held Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2000, at Lake Region High School, at 12:30 p.m. Photo opportunities will be made available.
The new training focuses on the "street level" deputy who would typically be the first to respond and arrive on the scene of a reported shooting at a school. In the past, patrol deputies were typically taught to "secure and contain" the perimeter of a scene, waiting for the arrival of the Emergency Response Team before entry was made into a building. The Emergency Response Team is trained in the use of special weapons and tactics for response in crisis situations.
The new approach trains patrol deputies to immediately enter the building with the goal of locating the suspect or suspects, and stopping the incident before a hostage situation develops or additional victims are harmed.
"Patrol Deputies are being taught to immediately enter the school, track down the bad guy and take whatever action necessary to stop him," Sheriff Crow said. "This approach will put our deputies at very high risk, but we are willing to take this step if it may make a difference for even one student."
All Sheriff's Office deputies are required to participate in the scenario-based training, which includes live interaction with "students," "school staff," and the "suspect(s)." The realistic sessions emphasize on-the-spot decision making in an on-going emergency situation.
For more information about the media event on Tuesday, contact PIO Michal Shanley at 5346631.
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A text only version of this release is also available.