JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (DC News Now) — Several law enforcement agencies gathered for a school onsite readiness training where officers participated in training to discuss how to act going into a dangerous situation
“Make no mistake — we all go we all go collectively as law enforcement whoever hears that call and we always will,” Martinsburg Police Chief George Smartwood said.
First responders are expected to jump into action when they get an emergency call, especially when there is danger at a school. That’s why officers and deputies from several West Virginia agencies took part in a special training Thursday.
“Today was a large information gathering for leadership as well as a self-reflection for the individual officer and what they experienced emotionally and physically to a response that is stress-induced just like this,” Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon said.
The training exposed them to scenarios where they would have to command, control, and communicate with each other and the school campus in response to a large-scale emergency.
“You can have anywhere between a mental hygiene issue and an armed intruder inside,” Sheriff Harmon said.
“You can have firearms going off or whatever the case may be without going into actual specifics and tactics we introduced and plan on introducing here today.”
Along with law enforcement, school leaders also made a plan to expand their system, and get more training for teachers and staff.
“We’re training them on decision-making without terrifying them or inducing some sort of trauma that they don’t associate with school,” Jefferson county public school Superintendent, Sr. Bondy Shay Gibson-Learn explained.
In a school crisis, every second counts, and it’s important responders and the staff stay calm under extreme stress.
“Keep our kids safe and that’s what it’s about our kids that’s how we feel about it that’s how I feel about it and we do more and more training of this and this was the opportunity that came up and we were very glad to participate,” Chief Smartwood said.