ROCKINGHAM — First responders from across Richmond County on Friday wrapped up a three-day training session on how to handle an active shooter situation in a school.
The course, held Aug. 17-19 at Richmond Senior High School, included classroom instruction on rapid deployment and active-shooter training and practical drills.
Detective Gary Carter with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office led the training.
The purpose, he said, was to maintain the safety of students and staff.
Carter said those taking the classes included deputies, officers with the Rockingham and Hamlet police departments and Richmond County Schools Special Police, troopers with the N.C. State Highway Patrol and employees of Richmond County Emergency Services.
He said there were about 30 participants each day.
During the practicals, officers were taught how to enter rooms safely and use the rolling T formation — a four-man tactical formation with one person on point, one on each wing and another bringing up the rear.
They also ran drills with two-man teams.
“We’re teaching that you don’t wait for a bunch of people — you’re going in and stopping the shooter,” Carter said.
Some of the practicals were based on real-life scenarios.
The teams practiced proceeding down steps, through hallways, past lockers and into classrooms and the cafeteria.
Carter said the officers were taught to head toward the gunfire.
In one scenario, there were two “bad guys” in the school’s cafeteria.
The point of having two instead of one “is to show the team that they can engage one person … but the situation might not be over. There may be a second one.”
One of them fired a blank round to give the contact team an audible report. The other had a mock explosive device that he rolled toward the team.
During the classroom portion, the officers were taught that if a device is rolled toward them in a hallway that they should try to go past it instead of running from it.
“The device is coming at you, so if you run the same way, it’s actually catching up with you, whereas if you run past it, you’re leaving it behind you and also negotiating the threat,” he said.
The school was supportive during the training, with some teachers and administrators stopping by to watch. Lunch was also provided by the school for the officers.
“It is very unfortunate that we have to do training such as this, but in today’s time, we have to prepare ourselves for anything and everything,” Sheriff Mark Gulledge said in a statement. “I am proud at how well all of the different agencies, school staff, and volunteer role players came together under one roof for one goal.”
See more photos below.