Law enforcement trains citizens to be ready for active situations

Law enforcement trains citizens to be ready for active situations
(Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Officials at the Madison County Sheriff's Office explained that local school resource officers are trained to kill active shooters, and their training is no different from other law enforcement officers.

"There's no difference in SROs. There's no difference in patrol deputies, investigators, even command staff," Lt. Donny Shaw said.

Shaw said law enforcement in the Tennessee Valley and all across Alabama is trained the same on what to do in an active killer situation (gun, knife, vehicle, etc.).

One difference is that SROs are trained twice a year, to make sure they stay sharp.

"They're the first line of defense, and they're going to be in the schools, and we want to make sure their skills and their intuitive response is where it needs to be," he said.

But law enforcement officials aren't the only ones being trained for worst case scenarios. Trainers who teach the ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) program at the Madison County Sheriff's Office said in the last couple of weeks, they've received several calls from churches and private day cares. That includes Latham United Methodist Church in Huntsville and its child development center.

"It is so important, so important. These children are entrusted in our care," said Traci Harris, the program director for the child development center.

Harris said the church now has an armed security guard during services, and ushers have gone through training. But during the week when the church becomes a child development center, Harris said it's still important to be on the lookout.

"We are always trained to be very alert all the time. All day, every day, just watching our surroundings. Of course we're watching the children, but when we're outside at the playground looking to see that there's no one lurking around," Harris said.

She said safety is the number one priority, which is why all staff members have received training from law enforcement.

"I have learned a lot and I'm in charge of a lot of things as the director, but this is the biggest thing I think about, even at night," she said. "It's so sad we even have to talk about it."

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