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LEOs participate in shooter drills

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Game Warden Brandon Mosley and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. James Riley discuss room entry protocol during the active shooter training at Woodville High School. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCBGame Warden Brandon Mosley and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. James Riley discuss room entry protocol during the active shooter training at Woodville High School. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The campus of Woodville High School, which was emptied of students, staff and faculty last week for WISD’s winter break, was the site of a multi-agency active shooter training event.

The drills took place throughout Wednesday and Thursday, and according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, law enforcement agents from a myriad of local and regional agencies took part.

The curriculum used for the drills came from the ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) and the Active Shooter Initiative partnership that came about following the tragic 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

The effort was led by the FBI, and the ALERRT training protocol is based in Central Texas, coming from Texas State University in San Marcos, in partnership with the San Marcos Police Department and the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

The mission statement in ALERRT’s training is “[t]o provide the best research-based active shooter response training in the nation,” and provides a vision statement of “[t]raining and research that saves lives and protects communities.”

According to literature accompanying ALERRT’s training protocol, the FBI defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

Throughout the two-day training drills, the participating lawmen engaged in role-play scenarios with the goal in mind to develop a skillset to enable them to save as many lives as possible in the event of an active shooter incident.

In doing so, the different participants played out a variety of scenarios in classrooms, in the hallways and in other parts of the campus.

The course was divided into 10 different learning modules, divided over the two-day period. The modules ranged from room entry to scenario-based practical exercises.

Weatherford said that in addition to the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, the WISD School Resource Officers and Woodville Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS); Texas Game Wardens and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office were among the dozen or so agencies participating.

In 2018, following a shooting at Santa Fe High School that claimed 10 people, the state legislature passed a law mandating that all school police officers receive training to better prepare them for the possibility of confronting a mass shooter, and in 2022, following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, more attention was focused on active shooter training. Following that incident, Weatherford promised an increased presence of law enforcement on, or available to, the five school districts in Tyler County.

Federally, the Department of Justice recommended that LEOs receive eight hours of active shooter instruction annually, but according to recent reports, only Texas comes close to meeting the DOJ’s standards, and in 2023, Texas mandated that all law enforcement officers, not just school SROs receive 16 hours of active shooter training every two years.

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