With students attending Ketterlinus Elementary School on summer vacation, Historic City News learned that, last week, members of the St Augustine Police Department were given permission to use the campus to create realistic, hands-on, “active shooter” scenarios as part of on-going yearly training for their officers.
Local police enlisted the help of Kathy Tucker, Principal of Ketterlinus Elementary, her school staff, and even some high school students to be “role players” during the training exercise.
“During this event, officers were dispatched to the school as if a shooting was in progress,” Public Information Officer Mark Samson told Historic City News reporters. “This type of hands-on training is invaluable in helping our officers prepare themselves for this type of incident, which we hope will never occur in our community.”
After-action reviews, conducted by law enforcement officials following the shooting incident at Columbine High School in Colorado, have led to a different approach in handling this type of situation, according to Samson.
Using intelligence gathered from the Columbine tragedy and others, the St Augustine Police Department has adopted a new policy; that, they say, will save as many lives as possible. When officers arrive at this type of scene, they will immediately go to the shooter and end the threat — no longer waiting for SWAT teams or Tactical units to arrive.
The officers ran through several scenarios — some by themselves and some as part of larger teams. Although the circumstances on the scene of an actual shooting will determine the tactics employed in that specific case, the exercise focused on training officers to make an immediate entry into the structure, to confront the shooter, and to put an end to the threat.
Photo credits: © 2013 Historic City News contributed photograph by St Augustine Police Department