ECSO Training Division conducts training session for SAGU faculty and staff

WAXAHACHIE — The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Training Division recently completed an in-service training with SAGU faculty and staff on what to do in the event of an active shooter situation on campus. The 1.5-hourlong training is offered free to all Ellis County schools, their educators and staff.

Training Division deputies Hunter Barnes, Ken Hatcher and Jeff Prater are all certified as instructors in Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, (ALERRT), including its civilian-oriented component, Citizens Response to an Active Shooter Event, (CRASE). The training is made available at a time and date convenient for the schools.

The ALERRT program, which is based at Texas State University and funded by the state and federal government, has trained more than 60,000 law enforcement professionals across the nation since 2002. ALERRT works with the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and the Governor’s Office. Through ALERRT’s CRASE component, the ECSO deputies train educators and staff on best practices in the event of an incident. The information presented includes case studies and details both what the police response may be and also offers suggestions on a school response.

During the in-service, the deputies discussed the three decisions that educators and staff face in the event of an active shooter situation: avoid (or escape), deny (or lockout) and defend. As part of the training, the SAGU faculty and staff were shown a video reenactment of the Columbine, Co., High School shooting. The video included the actual 911 tapes from that incident.

The deputies discussed how a person typically responds to an incident: denial that something is occurring, deliberation as to what to do after realizing there is a situation and the decisive moment when a person has to act.

"We want them to understand their options. We discuss stress rate and how they have to slow their heart rate down and concentrate," Prater said, saying that the training informs people of techniques on how not to freeze up but to get to the decisive moment and act.

Statistics compiled by ALERRT indicate there were 110 active shooter events from 2000-2012 involving schools, businesses and other sites. In those incidents, 90-percent of the shooters committed suicide within 90 seconds of being challenged by police, whose priority after arriving on scene is to stop the threat.

During the training, the deputies discuss risk assessment and offer suggestions to the educators and staff; they also talk about the aftermath of an incident. The training ends with a question and answer session. Final policy for responses continues to rest with each school district and local police agency.

For more information or to schedule a free training, contact Deputy Hunter Barnes at 972-825-4949 or hunter.barnes@co.ellis.tx.us or Jeff Prater at 972-825-4934 or jeff.prater@co.ellis.tx.us.