Picayune officers train for active shooter
Published 7:00 am Friday, June 23, 2017
Even though summer vacation is in full swing at Picayune Memorial High School, “gunshots” could be heard in the halls Thursday afternoon.
The rounds being used were not fatal, instead of drawing blood, blobs of blue paint denoted where the bullets found their target.
It was all part of active shooter training being held by officers of the Picayune Police Department.
Major Chad Dorn and Lt. Marcus Whitfield conducted the training, which included all day shift patrol officers and investigators. Dorn said another session for night shift officers will be held at a later date.
In order for Dorn and Whitfield to train officers within their department, they had to undergo a three-day training session under the Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response class held by FEMA. Dorn and Whitfield used materials from the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training to conduct the training in Picayune.
The two-day course held locally entailed classwork and practical exercises. After each officer completed the course, they received a certificate of completion.
During the practical exercise conducted Thursday afternoon, officers geared up in a bulletproof vest, mask and a simulation gun loaded with paint rounds before searching the halls of the high school for another officer pretending to be an active shooter.
The officers were tasked with using tactical procedures, such as looking behind doors and searching a room systematically for the “suspect.”
As each two-person team searched the hallway, halfway down they heard a “shot” being fired in another room by the “suspect.”
The officers continue down the hall until they found the room with the “suspect,” leading to several paint rounds being exchanged from both sides.
The object of the exercise was to have the officers employ proper search techniques while also accurately hitting the target with the paint rounds.
Dorn said it’s the first time the department was able to train officers locally, however a number of them had prior active shooter training.
All of the equipment used in the training, including the simulation guns and protective gear, was purchased with funds donated to the department as a result of the Saving Police Lives Campaign, Chief Bryan Dawsey said.
Dawsey said since paint rounds were being used, the officers wore their regular patrol vests, instead of the heavier metal plated vests purchased with funds from the same donation.
“If this was a real active shooter we would be wearing the 35 pounders,” Dawsey said.