Local officers practice response to active shooter situation

CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — Law enforcement is trained to run toward danger.

Today, local officers practiced their response to an active shooter situation.

While it can be hard, first responders say it’s critical to do these exercises.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

This training was planned before 19 children and two teachers were gunned down inside an elementary school classroom in Texas last week.

But the active shooter situation just reinforced the importance of these exercises.

Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach went to Bowdon Middle School in Carroll County to see the live demonstration.

To make it look as real as possible, first responders used Hollywood makeup, fake blood on those playing the victims, and a shooter firing a real gun with blanks.

They even used a life-flight helicopter to take patients to the hospital.

“For a drill, this is as realistic as we could do it,” said Major Craig Dodson of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

TRENDING STORIES:

Volunteers and staff at Carroll County’s Bowdon Middle school prepared for their parts as victims of a school shooting, including teachers playing themselves.

“I try not to think about the reality of it,” middle school teacher Marnie Caffin said.

In the scenario, a man opens fire in the cafeteria during a family breakfast. Immediately, the call goes out.

The school’s shield system locks down all interior and exterior doors to try and isolate the shooter, while sounding the alarm, alerting police, sheriff and any officers in the area within seconds.

After the mass shooting in Uvalde just a week ago, there was no thought of postponing the drill.

Dodson told Gehlbach he thought it was more important than ever to keep training.

During the scenario, the first two officers arrive and don’t wait, but go in, rapidly deploy and make contact with the suspect to stop him. This is the same response that all law enforcement now trains for in an active shooter drill.

“If a tactical team shows up and confronts a shooter, something’s probably gone wrong,” Dodson said.

Kameron Frye, who played one of the middle schoolers in this drill, told Gehlbach they were able to experience actually watching the intruder try to force his way into the room with a gun in hand.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

But within about 10 minutes an emergency crew got the victims out of the school with ambulances and a medevac helicopter waiting.

“My skin’s still crawling from it, haven’t been able to recover,” said Frye, who escaped and survived.

Frye told Gehlbach that you still have that fear in the back of your head that on any given day, you can be a part of a situation like this.

“I think we as teachers need to be ready for anything,” Caffin said.

The sheriff’s office, local police department and school system will now discuss the drill and figure out what they did well on, and what can be improved on, in case they ever do have to respond in real life.

IN OTHER NEWS: