TIVERTON, R.I. (WJAR) -- Two days after a deadly school shooting in Florida, police in Tiverton trained for an active shooter situation at two Rhode Island schools.
Capt. Patrick Jones told NBC 10 News the training was planned several months ago and happened to fall the same week as a shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida school.
“We know this comes at a time following the shooting in Florida. However, we look at this as an opportunity for public safety to work with school officials to prepare and hopefully prevent unspeakable tragedies in our community,” Jones said in a statement.
The training was conducted Friday at Tiverton High School and Fort Barton Elementary School.
“The purpose of this training is to teach the teachers to identify threats, to lock down in place when necessary, also when they’re identifying threats to lead law enforcement to locate those threats within the building,” Jones told NBC 10.
The training was intentionally meant to sound and look like the real scenario -- elementary school teachers ran away from the school during the drill.
“We try to add the realism all the time and in this training, we have an officer, or SRO, who’s acting as the intruder," Jones said. "He is armed with a shotgun with blanks, so the school teachers can hear the sounds of shots being fired within the school system, not something that if you told me 25 years ago that we’d be doing.”
About 130 teachers took part in active shooter training at the two schools. Students had the day off as it was a professional development day.
Not only are teachers being taught how to respond to an armed intruder at the school but also how to recognize the warning signs of students who pose a harm to themselves and to others.
“So, they’ll be able to see changes and behavior which could be innocuous at one point but also could be important that they want to report it,” Jones said.
Police said the goal is to eventually incorporate students into the drill.