Atlanta Police train for active shooter in school setting after Uvalde massacre

ATLANTA — Atlanta Police want their officers trained to know what to do in the case of an active shooter. The department’s monthly training Thursday moved inside a school, following the recent mass shooting in Texas.

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Instructors used vacant Venetian Elementary in southwest Atlanta to run officers through different school shooting scenarios where only a single officer is there first to respond.

“We train our officers not to wait. They’re immediately to push the fight towards that bad guy,” Sgt. Stephen Krieger said.

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APD used police recruits as the suspects and student victims. They also fired simulated rounds of plastic bullets topped with paint pellets. In one situation, the active shooter was shooting someone in a hallway and then ran into a classroom. The officers followed and engaged the gunman before he could shoot anyone else.

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The instructors then debriefed each officer following the scenario and asked what they would do differently.

“I would probably not hesitate as much when I went into the room, after I already saw him shoot,” one officer said.

Other situations included a barricaded gunman, where the suspect was inside the school but not actively shooting. But that can change in an instant. In one case, the suspect turned into an active threat to students being held hostage behind a barricaded door, and the officer was forced to make entry and engage.

Atlanta Police say the practice inside a school is invaluable, but also can be transferred to any public place like a mall, church or workplace setting.

“The more trained our officers are, the better the decisions they make under stress,” Krieger said.