Up-close look at new active shooting training to improve school safety in Tennessee
The law aims to prevent another Covenant School tragedy, where three adults and three students were gunned down in March.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tennessee students should be better protected next school year in an active shooter situation due to new training requirements.
A new state law goes into effect July 1, that requires additional training specific to active shooters for every officer working in a Tennessee school.
The new requirements aim to prevent another Covenant School tragedy, where three adults and three students were gunned down in March.
The required training can look as realistic as the police body camera video that was released of the officers responding to The Covenant School.
WSMV4 Investigates was there as officers went through the exercise with Covert Results, a Nashville-based security company. The dozens of trainees walked past lockers and searched around desks searching for potential threats.
“We have to be the ones who know exactly what to do when a situation arises,” CEO Robert Young said.
“It comes down to having a plan, and that is part of what we are doing today. Making sure each and every officer is experienced; they have a great background, most likely in law enforcement or military; and they have a plan and know what to do.”
The state law requires eight hours of classroom training on active shooter response, but Young believes the best training goes beyond the classroom. His officers will work at private schools around Nashville and get to experience the shooter response plan first-hand.
The certification class taught officers how to scan school for threats and safely go in and out of areas while holding rubber or airsoft guns. That allows them to react in real-time to take out the threat targets while saving the hostages.
“We want them to relive the repetition and the scenarios that they were doing with their police department or their military or whatever,” Young said.
“This is basically a refresher. This class is now required by law, so we are meeting that requirement but also going above and beyond the initial requirement. You can have somebody teach a PowerPoint for eight hours and that be it. We’re actually doing hands-on training with scenarios that have been real-life scenarios that have happened in other areas of the country in active shooter events.”
Other officers, like former teacher Diana Hutson, want to make sure the students they are protecting can focus on their schoolwork without worrying about potential threats entering the classroom.
“We don’t have excuses anymore,” Hutson said. “We have the measures to help correct some of these issues. As long as we have funding and education, I think that we can do that.”
While these officers are working in private schools, Young said they are completing the same training Metro Police school resource officers are going through. Under the new law, school safety teams must complete these drills every year.
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