Jefferson County sheriff's deputies conduct active school shooting drill
Jefferson County Sheriff's Officers got a call on the scanners Wednesday about a woman inside a local school with a gun. This was only a drill, but deputies responded to the Jefferson County Counseling and Learning Center as if it was the real deal.
"He's laying over here on the floor. I can't believe I did it. I can't believe I did that."
Those words were heard by telephone from the fake shooter in a classroom to the crisis negotiator in the front office.
Meanwhile, armed swat team members lined the halls. Everyone treated the drill like real life.
"They do not know what the scenario is when they get here," explained Captain John Verbitski. "They do not know what it's going to be. They just know the location."
The scenario given: A woman comes into the school through the bus entrance with the children. She isn't stopped because she's a familiar face. She goes into her husband's classroom and shoots him.
"He said he was trying to divorce me and try to get custody of Caleb," the fake shooter told the negotiator during the drill.
"That is a twist that we threw in this scenario, to throw in a female offender because it makes our guys think- it's a different scenario," added Verbitski. It's a different way you deal with the offender or the suspect."
SWAT, crisis negotiators, bomb technicians and school resource officers teamed up for this practice.
the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tries to do two training scenarios each year.
This one included some volunteer teachers and a student.
"It was almost just as scary as it would have been in real life," said 7th grader Zack Wilson. "I knew it was fake but at the same time, you got to know in the back of your head that it could end up happening. So I used it as a learning experience and tried to help them out by being a part of it."
JCCL's principal Jason Wilson says the drill is only part of the school's safety precautions.
"We have to train in this just like anybody else would," explained Wilson. "We have to go through quarterly lock down drills. We have to make sure that our faculty and students are prepared. If we want the students to react in a certain way, we have to train that way."
This was the first drill of its kind for several SWAT team members who just graduated from the SWAT program.