The Washington County School Board, in partnership with the Washington County Sheriff’s department and many other local law enforcement and emergency agencies, conducted an Active Shooter Safety Training for all Washington County School employees.
The trainings were held on Monday, August 6th, at Vernon High School and on Wednesday, August 8th, at Chipley High School.
With the safety of our children during school hours a growing concern, Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews opted to take a collaborative approach in response training.
“The color of our uniform does not matter when we are facing a crisis involving our children,” says Sheriff Crews. “We will all respond, for the sake of our children, and this is the reason multiple local and state law enforcement agencies trained together during the active shooter scenarios.”
For the first time in our county, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Chipley Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and WildLife, and Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Division, united during a training where they were taught response tactics, which involved the scenario of an active shooter in our schools.
Teachers and school staff from each respective school in Washington County attended a training on the protection of their students and how to effectively respond during a crisis.
“The training was very intense and really made you stop and think,” stated a group of teachers as they looked back on what happened throughout the training. “By far it was the best we have received in the 14 years I have been here.”
Real life scenarios were played out as the school halls resonated with screams, gunshots, and law enforcement response tactics during the final scenario, which involved the school staff, as they had to determine the safest escape routes.
Sheriff Crews stated, “As disheartening as the need for the training is, it is a priority. We have to overcome things we don’t want to do in this business and planning for an attack on our children in our schools is one we should not have to face. Being involved in a training where we learn the response tactics together so that we can face an attacker head on is critical. And that is what this training was about.”
The agencies trained side by side for more than 8 hours each day during the 2-day training, which was held on August 6th and August 8th.
During the final meeting, Dr. Clemmons advised teachers of techniques that would assist in saving a life, also stating, “If someone is wounded, don’t wait. Grab something close to you, something as clean as possible, and apply pressure to the wound. Anything is better than nothing when you are in a situation like this.”
“The positive and proactive mindset of the school staff and teachers has played a huge role in the success of this training,” states Crews.
Sheriff Crews wants to reassure the community that this training is just beginning and will be ongoing.
Photos from Monday’s training in Vernon are included below.