After receiving classroom instruction in the morning, officers and intruders carrying Glock pistols loaded with nonlethal ammunition played out live-action scenarios in which officers searched for and removed innocent victims and located and engaged perpetrators hidden in rooms throughout the school.
Officers were instructed in room clearing, securing victims and stopping an active shooter, according to CPD Sergeant Wayne Redden, who coordinated the training activities.
“Schools across America have had to deal with students killing students – and the effects last forever,” Redden says. “By training in real-life scenarios, officers will develop the skills needed to respond to a school in the event a problem arises.”
Instructor Gregg Boyer, representing the LEO Training Group headquartered in Dawsonville, Ga., provided a six-hour training session for the Cairo Police Department in active shooter response. “The goal is to provide the officers with the tactics that would allow them to respond to any shooter in any location, whether commercial or school, who is actively shooting victims,” says Boyer.
The officers used Simunition FX cartridges in their pistols, a nonlethal and nontoxic projectile containing a colored soap that stains the clothing at the point of impact (and delivers a stinging blow). The Simunition cartridges are designed to provide one of the most realistic close-range training systems possible.
Boyer says the rounds travel 350 feet per second and so it’s mandatory that they provide protective head and neck gear for the safety of course participants.
Master Patrolman Gus Mango says the training session was of great benefit. “The training gives you the right frame of mind for dealing with shooters and getting people out safely,” said Mango, commenting on the day’s activities.
Several school administrators observed the live scenarios in the afternoon including Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis, Asst. Superintendent Martha Fowler, Director of Operations Jerry Cox, Southside Principal Cheryl Harrison, CHS Principal David McCurry, Eastside Principal Kermit Gilliard, and CHS Assistant Principal Pete Williams.
Redden appreciated the efforts of four volunteers who role-played the “good guys” and “bad guys” during the training exercises. Role players included retired Iowa State Trooper Chuck Tyler, Thomas County Central student Morgan Ramey, Simon Harrison and Sergeant Redden’s son, Travis Wayne Redden who both attend CHS.
“This could happen here, or at any school in Grady County,” said CPD Investigator Tony Turner, extolling the merits of the training. “We have the same problems everybody else does, just on a smaller scale.”