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Dawson County Sheriff’s office conducts active shooter training
active shooter training
Officers from the Dawson County Sheriff’s office practice clearing the building during a recent active shooter training at Dawson County Middle School. – Photo for the Dawson County News

Dawson County Deputies recently completed three days of active shooter training designed to better prepare them for ever increasing active shooter threats.  The training focused on responding to school related violence.

Although the training was primarily oriented towards initial responding School Resource Officers and Patrol Officers, it included members from all components.

“Realizing that active shooter situations have become more prevalent; it’s important to constantly prepare our officers, both mentally and tactically,” said Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson.

To make the training more realistic, it was conducted in the Dawson County Middle School. Scenarios included active shooters, barricaded subjects, non-threating actors, fleeing student actors, and other distractions. The drills were purposely designed to elevate the stress level of the officers in order to better prepare them. 

Simunitions were used to increase the realism of the training. Simunitions training incorporates realistic, non-lethal force training.

“Simply put, the bad guys have the ability to engage the good guys with force on force training. It encourages officers to make good use of cover and make sound tactical decisions. Thankfully, most deputies escaped with minimal injuries,” said Johnson.

Donned with protective gear, the deputies responded to simulated calls for service occurring within the school system. Deputies were provided with minimal information regarding what was occurring.

“Our deputies are not trained to stage, if an active shooting is occurring. Our policy and practice is to respond immediately. Whether it is a lone deputy or more, we are not waiting. We are here to protect our children and our community,” explained Johnson.

In addition to the active shooter training, deputies participated in group building clearing exercises.

“It was a good opportunity for members from various components to work together in elevated stress situations. The reality of the situation is that any and all available sworn deputies will respond to an active shooting. They will probably be responding with other deputies, whom they may have had little opportunity to train with,” Johnson stated. 

The summer vacated school building provided an ideal setting to conduct this training. While our officers are trained on a simulator, having the ability to place them in an actual school proved very beneficial.

"The training was a good opportunity to develop strong basic fundamentals in order to create a foundation for more advanced techniques officers can utilize in connection with other first responders who might have to deal with these high threat situations," said Capt. Ray Goodie, lead instructor for the drill.

 “We are appreciative to the Dawson County Board of Education and Superintendent Damon Gibbs for partnering with us to accommodate this training. It is our desire that this training become, at the least, an annual training event,” said Johnson.