Authorities Gather at Schools to Train for Active Shooter Scenarios

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -  This week, residents travelling by two schools in Madison County will see dozens of law enforcement patrol cars outside the buildings.

There is nothing to be worried about.  The law enforcement officers, from across North Alabama, are gathering to learn how to handle one of the worst kind of threats to people: an active shooter.

The officers are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday at Monrovia Middle School for all-day training.  Then, more officers will meet at Sparkman High School on Wednesday and Thursday for all-day training.

Inside the schools, they'll turn empty hallways into scenes of chaos involving someone armed with a gun and on the loose.

"The whole purpose of this is to get everybody on the same page," said Madison County Deputy Corey Gray.  He is one of the teachers for the course at Monrovia Middle School.

When asked if this was a refresher course, Gray replied, "No.  A lot of this stuff is new stuff."

But it comes from old incidents, such as the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999, which forced officers to change their tactics.

"We used to do a thing..a certain thing and now we've changed that to adapt," said Gray.

WHNT NEWS 19 wasn't allowed to video the actual training inside the school because the authorities don't want the wrong people to know their tactics.

Despite the school setting, the training isn't limited to an active shooter at a school.

"This is towards businesses," said Gray.  "This could be while they're out with their families in the mall or a restaurant.  We talk about things like that too. About off duty."

Nonetheless, the principal of the school is glad to be their host.

"We're very excited they're training here and training in our schools," said Derrell Brown, Principal of Monrovia Middle School.  He says he already feels much safer, since he and other principals got a crash course into similar training.  "We went through some of the active training as principals a few weeks ago," Brown said.  "It was exciting to see the precision, to see the expertise that these officers have."

The state of Alabama mandates law enforcement train as often as they can for life-saving efficiency.

"To simplify it," said Gray.  "Make sure everybody is on the same page.  No matter who responds to what kind of active shooter, we could get Limestone County to come over here and help us in Madison County during an active shooter.  They'll know the same thing we do.  They'll know how to respond."

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