With officer killings fresh on their minds, East Texas agencies run active shooter drill

With officer killings fresh on their minds, East Texas agencies run active shooter drill
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

JASPER, TX (KTRE) - Around 50 law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel participated in an intense active shooter drill only weeks after eight officers were shot and killed in.

The drill took place at Jasper High School and lasted half of the day Thursday. The drill was overseen by the Office of Emergency Management and members of the Beaumont SWAT team as well as others certified to critique active shooter scenarios.

The drill had been set for months but was given new meaning with the recent events involving officer shootings.

"When you look at the fact of the the things that happened in Dallas and Baton Rouge, those are only several hours away from here," said  Billy Smith, the emergency management coordinator for Jasper, Newton and Sabine Counties. "It can happen here just as easy as it happened there."

The drill was a scenario where a shooter was inside the school and had shot multiple students and teachers. Fire alarms were going off with smoke the whole time. The shooter also shot blanks towards the floor to simulate real shots.

The officers overseeing the training split people up, so different agencies were working together.

"When that happens, you don't know who is going to be around, so you want to be able to count on any officer there," said Jasper DARE Officer Wanda Brister. "You need to be ready and know what to do."

Brister said the training was difficult and threw curve balls at them.

"I know I made a mistake," Brister said. "There's not one set [of officers] here that won't make a mistake, but I can tell you when it really happens I won't do that again."

With the death of eight officer still fresh, those involved in the training known that the worst case scenario could happen in a small town like theirs.

"We treat every situation as a serious issue that could go bad," Brister said. "In regards to shootings, I think being prepared with things like this help us be more prepared."

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