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Agencies acclimate to new school for shooter training
Exercise allows practice for takedown of active shooters
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Law enforcement officers collect the weapons that will be used during Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training at Mundy Mill Elementary in Gainesville on Thursday. Several groups of law enforcement worked together through shooter and hostage scenarios around the school. - photo by David Barnes

With eyes in every direction, a quintet of officers stay in step with one another in the halls of Mundy Mill Academy, checking every classroom and alcove.

Their mission is to subdue three militants who have taken over the school as part of a training seminar Friday at the new school

“We get paid to take the risk. We’re going in,” said Gainesville Police Sgt. Jim Von Essen during the training briefing.

Officers receive instruction through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program. Members from the Gainesville police and fire departments took part in the exercises, along with Hall County’s sheriff’s office and fire services.

“Everyone from the police department has to do it, and then we started adding emergency medical personnel to it, because they would obviously be responding with us,” Gainesville Police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said.

During the briefing, Von Essen told the officers about a slower rate of fire to not burn through ammo and about keeping lines of communication open.

In one area of the new school on Millside Parkway, officers assessed the injured and stayed alert near medical personnel rendering aid. Down another hallway, a squad of officers performed the secondary sweep to clear the building.

Holbrook said one of the goals of the three-day course was to acclimate law enforcement with the layout of the new school while still practicing fundamentals for any emergency situation.

“Anybody that might be in the area, whether it be an investigator, administrative personnel, uniformed or non-uniformed, (is trained) so they can respond,” Holbrook said.