Training to respond and stop a threat
By Shavonne Potts
ROCKWELL ó Perhaps residents in the Rockwell area noticed some activity at Shive Elementary School this week.
Deputies with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office were doing rapid response, an in-service mandatory training.
Capt. John Sifford said the training is a requirement of the N.C. Sheriff’s Standards.
There are certain training sessions, such as firearms, blood borne pathogens, hazmat, career survival, juvenile and minority sensitivity and response to critical incidents.
Officers can also take electives, which is what the rapid response training is considered. It’s a four-hour course in which officers learn how to evacuate a building in the event of a school shooter. The main focus of the training is to get students out of the building safely.
“It refreshes everyone’s training if there are new officers who haven’t had the training since rookie school,” Sifford said.
The tactics the officers learn in rapid response can be applied to any other situation, not just a school setting.
The classes were taken over a four-day period, both day and night sessions. Sifford said the department held classes at different times of the day so they could get as many officers as possible trained. All officers, including full-time, part-time and reserve officers, trained during the scenarios.
“The school has supported us in any way. Some of the school staff were even there to observe,” he said.
In addition to hands-on training, the officers attended lectures.
This type of training was developed in response to the Columbine school shootings in 1999.
Sifford explained that at the time, the Colorado officers followed their protocol and waited for SWAT. Since that time, officers throughout the state receive the same type of tactical training.
“They might be police, highway patrol or a wildlife officers. Instead of standing by and wating, we are training them to respond and stop the threat,” Sifford said.
The Sheriff’s Office plans to have another training session later in the year.