With summer break underway, local law enforcement agencies in Duplin County, North Carolina, are making use of the empty classrooms to undergo annual active-shooter training drills.
On July 18, officers from the Wallace Police Department participated in an intensive active-shooter exercise at Wallace Elementary School. The training aimed to equip officers with the necessary skills to respond effectively in the event of an active shooter situation, ensuring the safety of students, teachers and the community.
According to police, the exercise involved simulated sounds of gunfire, distressed teachers and students hiding for safety, which created a lifelike and challenging scenario for the officers.
Despite having undergone similar training before, the participating law enforcement personnel sought to gain fresh insights and approaches to enhance their readiness for potential threats.
Wallace Police Chief James Crayton said that continuous learning is key for officer preparedness.
“The officers are going to take something away new every time they do it. So if they’ve done it 20 times before, great, but they’re going to learn something new today.”
The training was designed to be scenario-based and reality-based, utilizing role players to present officers with various situations to navigate.
One of the instructors, Youngsville Police Chief Greg Whitley, highlighted the importance of using an actual school building for the exercise when it was unoccupied.
According to Whitley, the approach allows officers to familiarize themselves with the layout of the school, helping them to respond swiftly and effectively if required.
“These are scenario-based, reality-based exercises,” Whitley stated. “And what we do is try to use the school when obviously, it’s unoccupied. And it gives them the opportunity to utilize roleplayers, to have various scenarios set up for the officer.”
For this particular training session, Wallace Councilman Jason Davis volunteered as one of the role players. Davis, who has personal connections to the school, expressed his appreciation for the officers’ dedication to protecting the community and ensuring safety in schools.
“Knowing that my son has been through school, my wife teaches at school. My daughter is at his school. Live in here in a town of Wallace’s, I take great pride in seeing this training happen,” Davis said.
The Wallace Police Department also expressed their commitment to improving preparedness and safety in the community.
Following the successful exercise, they announced that the training will now be made available to other law enforcement officers or agencies, and extended an invitation to interested officers or agencies to participate in the next training session two days later on July 20 at Wallace Elementary School.
In a Facebook post, the Wallace Police Department expressed gratitude to their role players, Woodmen of the World for providing lunch, the instructors and Wallace Elementary for allowing them to use the facility for the training.
Chief Crayton added that the type of training remains an annual requirement for the department to ensure that officers stay updated on the latest techniques and are always ready to respond to any active threat to keep the community safe.