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Want to know how to respond to an active shooter? A free training event is coming to Dawsonville in February

If a gunman threatened your church, school or workplace, how should you react? A free training class is coming to Dawsonville to help you answer that question.

Dawson County sheriff candidate Marcus Sewell has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and the Georgia Emergency Management to provide a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event (CRASE) class on Feb. 3.

“You can’t do enough of this. People need to be ready and you want to make sure – I mean, today’s day and time is different than it was years ago,” Sewell said. “The biggest thing is being ready and realizing it can happen anywhere. Don’t think that this won’t happen just because we’re in Dawson County. It could happen, but now we’re taking the step to make sure all citizens, not just certain citizens, but all citizens are ready for this.”

The course is designed and built out of the Avoid, Deny, Defend strategy developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training to provide civilians with knowledge that will empower and instill confidence to survive acts of violence such as active shooters, robberies or hostage situations no matter the place.

Sewell said that the course will empower citizens and give them the tools to avoid being a victim if the worst happens in their community.

 “We pray that this never happens, especially in our county,” he said. “Whether you’re down in another city or county or at the mall or a big place with a lot of people we want to make sure that you know that you’re ready to defend yourself.”

Sewell said he wanted to bring this training course to Dawson County after several local churches reached out to him to conduct security training classes. A portion of the training will be geared towards churches, and Sewell encourages churchgoers or church security team members to come to the training.

The training will also cover disaster response such as tornados and fires. 

“It’s making sure that your business and your church have plans for all these events that could happen and that you’re not caught off guard,” Sewell said.

The training course is open to all members of the community as well as law enforcement, fire and EMS, public health, local government and other interested parties.

“We want to make sure everyone knows they’re welcome to be a part of this,” Sewell said. ““We serve the citizens. That’s what I’ve always done and I want to make sure the citizens, any type, can come to me and know that if they have a question or need help with something I’m there to do it. That’s the reason why I decided to open this class up because I’m here to serve.”

The training will be held in the Gordon Pirkle Room inside the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 3. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

The class is expected to last an hour and a half, but Sewell said it may last longer depending on citizens’ questions.  For more information, contact Sewell at (706) 974-6824 or