Slideshow: Events unfold in training exercise
Following an active shooter training session at Greenbrier High School Friday, Arkansas State Police announced intent to establish a committee that will create a uniform training plan to be used in a school shooting event.
The committee will be made up of representatives of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training, Arkansas State Police, local sheriffs, police chiefs and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
The training will eventually be offered upon request to local school districts.
Friday’s training at Greenbrier High School was coordinated by ASP Captain Keith Eremea, head of Troop A, which serves Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline counties.
According to Greenbrier superintendent Scott Spainhour, Eremea, who he said has a senior student attending the school, contacted him about using the school as a training facility.
With students out on break, Spainhour said he was “agreeable to anything (Eremea) wanted to do.”
Several departments and agencies, including officials from Guy and Greenbrier police departments, Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office, MEMS, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas State Police were present for the afternoon session Friday.
Corporal Chuck Lewis, Highway Patrol, who led Friday’s training, said there was a “hodgepodge” of departments and agencies in attendance at the morning session.
Two teams of four entered a simulated shooter environment as students played both victim and shooter roles. Other officials were stationed outside and around the building.
The teams were coached by Lewis as they moved through the school, rescuing students who feigned injury and those who were in hiding.
Lewis said the exercise was a “crash course” usually spanning two to three days.
Simple, tactical measures were reviewed before teams entered the building, as well as the correct formation for entering an active shooter event.
“Go as fast as your slowest person can go,” Lewis told the officers. “Stay together…The only time you vary from the model is if gunfire is heard, then move toward the gunfire and stop the killing.”
At the close of the exercise, the student volunteer acting as the shooter met officers on the steps of the school’s auditorium, holding a fake weapon.
A state trooper talked the actor student into submitting to arrest, and waiting officers placed him in custody.
In a review session, Greenbrier Chief Gene Earnhart said his officers have maps of Greenbrier schools, as well as keys to buildings.
Lewis encouraged officers to meet with the administrative staff at their own schools to formulate a “game plan” for a school shooting.
“Thanks to state police, we got to see what this would really feel like,” Earnhart said. “We’d like to do this as often as we can…”
Earnhart said he hopes to use the school for another training session when students are out for spring break.
“Anyone can join us to get this training that we hope we’ll never need,” he said.
Uniform, statewide training will become available through the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, according to state police.
An email request sent Friday afternoon for information regarding the date of the training program’s availability was not returned by press time.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)