Utah police, fire agencies train for active shooter in schools

Aug 10, 2022, 5:27 PM | Updated: 7:02 pm
Several police and fire agencies trained on how to respond to an active school shooter in Magna Wed...
Several police and fire agencies trained on how to respond to an active school shooter in Magna Wednesday. (KSL TV)

MAGNA, Utah — As we get ready to send our kids back to school, safety is top of mind following a number of mass shootings over the last few years.

Less than three months ago, events in Uvalde, Texas shook the country as a shooter walked into the school and gunned down 19 students and two teachers.

At Cyprus High School Wednesday, local agencies practiced responding to such a frightening event.

“While we’ve been fortunate that we’ve not seen an actual school shooting, at the same time we want the bad guys out there to know that if you attempt to come onto school campus that we’re going to be ready for you, you will be apprehended and you will be killed,” said Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District.

Horsley explained they train with local agencies like Unified Police, Unified Fire, and the Granite School District’s law enforcement for any scenario.

They also work to help students understand why school threats are taken seriously and how to react in the event of a shooter through training videos.

“We don’t want to be sensitizing them to this type of situation but at the same time, making them aware of how to empower themselves if such an incident were to occur,” Horsley said.

Fire and police from a number of agencies converged on Cyprus High School Wednesday. Unified Police say regardless of which agency responds first in an actual lockdown situation they all follow the same plan.

“Their number one goal is to stop the killing,” said Lt. Shane Manwaring from the Unified Police Department. “We’ve learned that over, back to Columbine, that we have to stop the killing.”

School and police officials say they understand parents’ desire to protect their children. As parents themselves, their goals are the same, but they also want parents to know to stay away from the school.

“You’re going to hinder the ability for emergency professionals, law enforcement, fire officials to actually get on and preserve life within that campus and in that environment,” Horsley said.

Whether that’s showing up unannounced without any identification, or preventing agencies from getting to the scene because of traffic caused by those concerned parents.

Their advice, watch official district and school channels for information on how to be reunited with your student without hindering those life-saving efforts.

Manwaring said, “We want our children to be able to go to school in a safe environment, feel safe, and be able to go to get the education that they deserve to have.”

Part of Wednesday’s training was to transition from apprehending a shooter to saving lives with rescue teams.

“That’s where the police officers join up with the firefighters and we create rescue teams that enter the building and start triaging students and faculty members that have been injured or shot,” Manwaring explained.

Just like education inside the classroom evolves every year, Horsley said this training is constantly evolving to make sure agencies are prepared, no matter what.

“The statistics are very clear, that an incident like this is roughly a one in 10 million chance. We are preparing and training for that one in 10 million chance.”

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Utah police, fire agencies train for active shooter in schools