Granite School District police, students prepare for worst case scenario

Jan 12, 2023, 7:37 PM

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Granite School District Police spent all of Thursday preparing for worst case scenario in school classrooms, as they teamed up with West Valley City officers to train on how to take down an active shooter.

Just under three dozen officers ran through scenario after scenario at Hunter Junior High, which was empty of students at the time.

Video of the training provided by West Valley City shows officers walking in the front doors, guns drawn. They quickly zero in on the library, where they’ve identified the threat. They walk in the room announcing “Police! Police!”

An officer role playing as an active shooter opens fire. Officers fire back, and the shooter falls to the ground.

Granite School District Spokesperson Matt Sampson explained that the scenarios included active shooter as well as situations like a barricaded suspect in a classroom.

They were learning the best way to respond.

“Those that arriving at the school first– where they’re making a point of entry, how they’re going throughout the school, whether that’s classroom to classroom, throughout the hallways,” he explained.

He said those kinds of situations are dynamic, and chaotic.

It’s not unlike the chaos that unfolded at Granger Elementary in November, when explosions from a science experiment led to a huge police response. Officers swarmed the elementary school, making sure it was safe and not a real threat.

The training comes the day before a tough and painful anniversary for the school district, where tactical response skills proved crucial.

One year ago, a student shot and killed two others and injured a third just outside Hunter High School, leading to a lockdown. Police surrounded Hunter High, as well as the shooting scene.

While class will not be in session Friday, the school district will make counselors and mental health professionals available for students struggling on the anniversary.

Sampson said the training is taking place now because of the holiday weekend when all Granite School District kids are out of school until Tuesday. It provided them a good opportunity to train in an actual campus environment without any students around.

“It builds upon that muscle memory and that routine, so that should the unthinkable occur, we’re as prepared as possible to deal with those situations and those different scenarios,” he said.

Not only was the training about building up tactical strategy, but Sampson said it allows Granite School District Police to communicate and collaborate with allied police agencies like West Valley City, to work on effective communication and strategies.

It gives them an opportunity to have real-world training, he said, that’s on-location and hands-on.

“It makes our communication much more effective, it makes our response times that more effective,” he said. “And then that way, should there ever be a threat or potential threat to a school, we’re much more prepared to deal with a situation like that.”

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