A realistic “active shooter” training exercise will take place next week on Georgia Southern University’s campus, staging reenactments of dangerous scenarios.
As students take their spring break leaving the campus empty, law enforcement officers will train on how to respond and react to an incident where a gunman is loose inside a building on campus.
The exercise is a partnership between the Statesboro Police Depart-ment, University Police Department and a federal agency that requested its identity be kept confidential, said Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner.
Other local law enforcement agencies have been invited to participate as well, he said.
“The training will involve realistic scenarios including the use of simulated and blank ammunition firing,” said GSU spokesperson Connie Palfy.
“All activities will be conducted inside.”
GSU Police Chief Mike Russell said officers will reenact dangerous situations around the Newton and College of Education classroom buildings, as well as Paulson Stadium.
All personnel will use Simulated ammunition, or “Simunition,” he said.
“The areas being used will be closed off and marked,” Palfy said.
Training will begin Tuesday and run through Thursday, Russell said. Activities will be conducted throughout each day.
The reenactment training activities are nothing new. GSU and Statesboro Police partnered together a couple years ago in a hostage situation exercise at Paulson Stadium, and similar training was conducted on the campus before.
“We’ve never actually done this in a classroom setting before,” Russell said.
Turner said the partnerships between law enforcement agencies in the training sessions are necessary because they all would be working together in a real-life emergency.
“It’s a partnership,” he said. “They need the training and we need the training.”
While others outside the law enforcement group may help, “role playing” as part of the exercise, law enforcement and public safety officials will be responding just as they would if the situation were real, he said.
The exercises are being held at GSU because “They have the venue,” he said. ”If (an active shooter situation) is going to happen, it’s likely to happen there.”
Russell agreed that the exercise helps build skills and strengthen partnerships.
“If it, Heaven forbid, ever happens, we will respond” as a team with other agencies.
Anyone with questions about the exercise may call the GSU Police at (912) 478-5234 or Statesboro Police at (912) 764-9911.
Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.