An angry father not allowed to pick up his child from middle school walks down the halls shooting anyone in sight, including children in classrooms.
Alarms and explosives go off as bloodied, unresponsive youth litter the floor of the smokey corridor.
A sheriff’s deputy pointing a rifle orders the father to drop his gun, but is quickly shot down.
That is the scenario children participated in on Thursday, organized by Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, an annual shooting drill described by local media as necessary to keep “school’s safe.”
The active shooter training is intended to be as realistic, stressful, and chaotic as possible to ensure that officers are prepared in the case of a similar tragic event. Actual kids from the Sheriff’s Office Explorer youth program were used as props in the chaotic scene.
According to the local ABC affiliate:
“We treat every exercise like the real deal, so all of our faculty and staff, all of our responding team members, they all follow procedures to the letter of the law. Because you never know if it’s accurate or if it’s going to work unless you try to do it in real world scenarios,” Shawn Dennis Assistant Superintendent of Operations.
The children and other participants are asked to retain as much information as possible, such as the suspects description, vehicle, what they were holding and other relevant details from the chaos.
“We used this to test fire, EMS, law enforcement, Emergency management, and how the media is going to deal with that also how we are going to get that information out to them,” Sergeant Andrew Hobbs told the station. “Once you see law enforcement and medical EMS and fire are there you need to call out help, help, so they can see you. As you saw in this scenario today there was smoke there was alarms going off it’s going to be mass chaos.”
As the victims scream out for help and blanks are being fired in the smokey hallway, the shooter is eventually shot and surrenders before EMT’s and firefighters begin to rescue victims.
While additional training for these types of situations is surely a good thing, one can’t help but wonder if there may be negative effects from participating in such a realistic horror for the children the department used as their props.
However, judging by comments on the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, residents are grateful deputies would go to such extents for the children.
Check out the video below.