Turning the tables a bit, Baldwin County sheriff’s deputies and other officers put teachers at three county schools to the test with an active shooter drill March 6.
“They did great,” Capt. Tony Nolfe of the sheriff’s office said. “All the teachers knew it was going to be an active shooter drill. We fired off some blank rounds, some noise simulators and banging on doors, yelling and hollering. Just basically testing their lockdown procedures.”
With kids still out for the Mardi Gras holiday, the exercises focused on how teachers would react in the case of a shooter on campus. Deputies conducted drills at Delta, Rosinton and Elsanor schools.
“All the other school resource officers [SROs] that were there monitored and spot-checked what the teachers had done as far as their lockdown procedures,” Nolfe said. “Sometimes they will actually pull up a piece of furniture [or] put up a curtain over the door just to test what they would do during the case of an active shooter.
“Also, their procedures for coming out of lockdown. They are not to open the door for anybody except for a couple of designated members of their faculty, administration or law enforcement. Just kind of a quick test.”
The glitches were few, Nolfe said, and were quickly corrected by the SROs monitoring the drill.
“We really didn’t identify anything other than a couple of little minor hiccups here and there, just polishing up some things,” Nolfe said. “We were all very pleased from the law enforcement perspective, and I believe the school board was pleased from the administrative perspective.”
Officers hoped to give the teachers a feel for what an active shooter event would feel and sound like and gauge their reactions.
“It was just a way to run them through a quick little scenario,” Nolfe said. “This was just a tornado drill with a little bit of extra realism thrown in, just to let them hear the noises and think about how this may sound and how they may feel when something like that is happening.”
At the end of the day, Nolfe said, teachers, administrators and officers alike learned a great deal.
“We thought it was a valuable thing and the teachers and administrative staff seemed to agree. It’s something we hope to expand to the other schools that are our primary responsibility, schools out in the county that have a deputy as a school resource officer,” he said.
Future drills are being planned, Nolfe said, but it’s hard to find days when teachers are present and students are not.
“Basically, we took advantage of a day when kids were off campus yet all the faculty and such were there for one of their professional development days,” he said. “We wanted to do something we could be a little more efficient with. So, it could be a while before we’re able to hit the other schools, but it’s definitely something we intend on doing and the other schools are interested in.”
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