• 81°

School resource officers undergo ‘real-life’ training to respond to a shooter

In training

JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST Salisbury Police Officer Scotty Robinson tries to locate a reported “Man with a Gun” during a training exercise on Thursday. School Resource Officers from Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and Salisbury Police took part in a solo active shooter at Force Tec training facility in Cleveland on Thursday 8/16/18, Cleveland, NC.

CLEVELAND — It seems as though school shootings have become so common that most people can’t even remember where or when they’ve occurred. In response to that reality, local school resource officers took part in solo active-shooter training Thursday.

The scenarios used in the training included a single officer being the first to respond to a lone shooter before backup arrives. About a dozen officers put on masks and, instead of bullets, used nonlethal paint rounds called Simunition. The rounds have the look of a bullet, but the sting, if someone is “shot,” is similar to that of a paintball pellet.

The training has been several months in the making and came together through a partnership with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Salisbury Police officers and Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies. The training was held at the ForceTec training facility in Cleveland.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” said Salisbury police Officer Isaac Miller, who is a resource officer at Henderson Independent High School.

He’ll begin his third year as an SRO and said this is the first time he’s participated in training of this caliber.

“I think I did well. We have a great trainer who’s been doing this for years,” Miller said.

He said this type of training is beneficial.

“This is as real as you can get without actual bullets,” Miller said. “You never know when you get in that actual situation.”

Each officer was given the same scenario, but with a few changes. For instance, the “shooter” would change his tactics and force the officers to change their response.

After each officer was taken through the scenario with a trainer, Master Deputy Jay Davis conducted a debriefing. Davis, along with sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Flowers, asked each participant to rate his performance.

Flowers said the real planning for the training began in the spring. Once the officers confirmed the dates, it all came together.

“It’s good to get it done before school. It will be fresh on our minds. It’s to prepare us for the evil that may come,” Flowers said.

Rowan Master Deputy Charlie Ashby is a school resource officer at Southeast Middle School.

It’s great training because it gives officers the opportunity to respond to rapidly changing situations. “It’s real-life, hands-on,” Ashby said.

He said when officers encounter situations in a school setting, the answer may not always be to shoot.

Veteran Salisbury police Officer Shanita Millsaps has been a school resource officer since 2011 and is currently assigned to Knox Middle School.

It’s the first time she’s had such realistic training, she said, adding that it was nerve-wracking at first and she just wanted to make sure she did a good job.

The scenario gave her a few things to think about, including how she would respond using her radio to communicate with any backup and not underestimating the “shooter.”

“I liked that it was hands-on,” Millsaps said.

Deputy Tommie Cato has been in law enforcement for over 25 years, the majority with the N.C. Highway Patrol. He’s been an SRO about four years. He’ll be assigned to East Rowan High School.

“Unfortunately, in today’s society, we need to be the best marksmen we can be. We interact with our citizens and we try to be part of our schools. We have to be well-trained,” Cato said.

He said this type of training allows the officers to take into consideration any possibilities and do good in the schools.

Master Deputy Lunda Eller has worked in law enforcement for 30 years and been an SRO for three years. She’s assigned to Erwin Middle School.

She had never had such realistic training in which one officer responds independently against a single perpetrator. Eller said she’s glad Flowers took the initiative to organize the training.

“It’s extremely beneficial. It’s more like real life,” she said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

Comments

Crime

Blotter: April 14

Elections

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

Crime

Salisbury woman arrested in Myrtle Beach for abducting child

Health

County updates health director job description, will advertise for position

High School

High school tennis: East beats Carson, still hopes to share NPC title

Elections

Board of Elections to purchase upgraded voting equipment using federal grant

Kannapolis

Kyle Seager drives in winning run in first game as Mariners split doubleheader with Orioles

Local

City exhausts this year’s funds for Innes Street Improvements, Municipal Services District grant programs

Landis

Landis adopts amendments to Zoning Ordinance related to signs, Planning Board terms

Nation/World

Cop, police chief resign 2 days after Black motorist’s death

Nation/World

Expert says cop was justified in pinning down George Floyd

Crime

Blotter: April 13

Coronavirus

County switches vaccines for Livingstone clinic after federal, state guidance

Coronavirus

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses