Braxton County first responders conducted an exercise Monday morning, October 10 to be better prepared in times of emergency. But, hopeful, they will never have use these skills in a real situation. Law enforcement stormed Braxton County High School in response to a simulated active shooter incident. “In today’s world these types of unfortunate situations are happening throughout our country. As a result of this training, officers in our county and accompanying first responders are better prepared if something, heaven forbid, does actually occur,” explained Sgt. Brandon Smith Commander of the Sutton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
The exercise which began at 9:30 a.m. and lasted for just over two hours, consisted of tactical operations involving several scenarios where an individual would need to be subdued. Teams also discussed and improved on the best ways to handle different individuals in different portions of the building.
In addition to law enforcement, made up of just over 20 officers from the State Police, Braxton County Sheriff’s Department and Flatwoods PD, all county fire department were involved as was the 9-1-1 Center, Office of Emergency Services and Braxton County Board of Education personnel.
“Our first responders were motivated to participate in this training which has been months in preparation. Our critique will be ongoing, but everyone agrees that this exercise elevates our level of preparedness which was our primary objective,” added Sgt. Smith.
County OES Director John Hoffman coordinated the drill.
Members of the local State Police Detachment have all been assigned a school in the county to partner with. This program was implemented under Sgt. Andy Shingler and was reactivated by Sgt. Smith. “Troopers try to visit their assigned school weekly and talk with staff and students to discuss any potential issues the school may be having,” explained Sgt. Shingler. “In addition, they survey the grounds for possible security issues to bring to the attention of school authorities.”
“We are aware of the dangers, and we want to assure the public that we take such matters seriously. We hope to continue training exercise such as this. They improve our level of readiness, and cooperative level amongst other first responding agencies, even though we hope we never have to use them,” concluded Sgt. Smith.