Active shooter training prepares first responders for real-life scenarios

ST. GEORGE —¬†Although placed in an elementary school setting, the St. George Police Department’s annual active shooter training was geared to help the city’s first responders be prepared for any active shooting situation.

Around 60 officers individually experienced three simulations during the training Wednesday afternoon at Little Valley Elementary. In addition, a large scale active shooter scenario took place Wednesday evening at George Washington Academy.

Although St. George Police Sgt. Jordan Minnick said an active shooter situation can happen at any place, such as a concert or business, completing the active shooter training in schools is beneficial because schools are out for the summer and are a “target-rich environment.”

An officer looks inside a classroom at Little Valley Elementary during St. George Police Department’s annual active shooter training, St. George, Utah, June 6, 2018 | Photo by Tanner Lund, St. George News

“Schools are the best environments for that because kids aren’t coming in to protect themselves,” Minnick said. “They’re not thinking about that. They’re here to learn.”

According to Education Week, there have been more than 10 school shootings in 2018.

Police agencies in the St. George area, including St. George, Washington City and Dixie State University, took part in or volunteered to help run the scenarios.

Blair Barfuss, the new chief of police at Dixie State University, was at the training and said active shooter training is done annually because it needs to stay fresh in the minds of first responders.

It’s something that we do because it can happen at anytime,” Barfuss said.

The annual training has helped St. George first responders know what to do in situations like the incident where a student brought a homemade bomb to Pine View High School in March, Minnick said.

A police officer enters a classroom during a simulation at the St. George Police Department’s active shooter training, St. George, Utah, June 6, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

“This training let them know what to do when they got there,” he said. “It wasn’t a question of ‘What do I do?’ It was ‘What hasn’t been done yet and where do I fit into that role?'”

After the officers individually completed all three simulations, they met with the whole department to discuss what worked well and what they needed to work on as a team. Minnick said even though this training with multiple agencies happens only once a year, the St. George Police Department trains all year long for these kinds of active shooter situations.

“It might not be in a large scale situation like this, but the city of St. George provides us the opportunity to train all year long,” he said.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

 

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