Law Enforcement Receive Shooter Training

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Local law enforcement and troopers from five of the Georgia State Patrol Troop B posts are honing their tactical skills in the event of an active shooter situation in a public place such as a school.

For the next two weeks, police and sheriff’s deputies from Franklin, Hart, Stephens and surrounding counties in Northeast Georgia are training in Carnesville at the old Franklin County Middle School building on Busha Road.

Toccoa Post Commander Al Whitworth said that in light of recent public shootings across the country, it’s important local law enforcement be ready.

“Seeing it across the country and even in Georgia, we’ve had a lot of active shooter situations where it was at a school or a theater such as in Colorado,” Whitworth said. “It’s a new thing for law enforcement nowadays. In years past, local law enforcement didn’t really train for these kinds of situations, but now we want to try and stay ahead of the game.”

The training consists of classroom work, but most of the day is spent doing actual tactical training using air guns.

The co-trainer is Athens Post Commander Sergeant Scott Andrews, who is from Franklin County.

He said the need for this kind of active shooter training has risen over the past several years.

“We’re going to try and incorporate more training because the way things are going now, we seem to encounter things like this more frequently than we used to,” he said.

On Monday, officers spent the day re-enacting scenarios where a shooter enters a school.

With each exercise, Whitworth said the officers learn what to do and what not to do and how to improve their skills.

“We actually have an active shooter dressed in all black. We’re doing situations where he fires upon the officers. We’re teaching them how to clear rooms and how to respond in four-man teams towards the active shooter,” Whitworth said.

The Georgia State Patrol sponsors the tactical training, but Whitworth says it’s important all local law enforcement agencies are also trained.

“I think if you see in all the active shooter situations you’ve seen across the country, there’s really not time to wait for a SWAT team to arrive,” Whitworth said. “Most of your responding officers are your patrol officers. Your frontline people, your troopers, your beat police officers and deputies are the ones that respond and handle the situation.”

The training will continue for the rest of this week and part of next week, according to Whitworth with officers from different law enforcement agencies attending.