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Active shooter training helps officers save lives
JEFFERSON COUNTY- by Haley Bull
Attorney General Eric Holder is urging Congress to approve $15 million to train law enforcement officers to improve their response to shooting rampages. The request comes in the wake of Sunday's shooting at a Jewish community center in Kansas City. About two years ago, active shooter training helped law enforcement officers during a shooting spree at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
Wednesday, it was business as usual at the building, but two years ago, what began as a quiet work day for Jamie Smith in the County Clerk's Office suddenly changed.
"All of the sudden we heard some shots fired. We heard noises you know, kind of startled everyone then, then it repeated and someone said there's a gunman that was outside that was shooting toward the courthouse," Smith said.
March 14th, 2012 Bartholomew Granger opened fire outside the courthouse. 79-year old Minnie Sebolt was there to do some business. She died at the entrance. Granger was targeting his daughter and her mother. Both were shot and survived.
"I came out and they're all down in position, came out, closed this door and as I was closing this door the lady and a couple other people who were outside running in, you could see the lady was shot, she was grabbing towards her back, secured this door and then she went downstairs in the scanning department," Smith said.
He and dozens of others took cover.
"Everyone was down here, then the lady that as shot she was laying down over there by the desk," Smith said pointing to a spot in the scanning department.
Moments later, law enforcement officers converged on the scene. Years of active shooter training had prepared most for what they were about to face.
"There's a lot of things, working as a team, shooting close together, different things, and that's all been taught in the alert training that probably would have made people hesitate if that wouldn't have been, if they didn't know the tactics at that time," Officer James Riley with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Warrant Division said.
They're tactics they perfect during basic swat training held Wednesday.
"Every police officer that carries a gun should know the alert tactics 'cuz it's just there to save lives," Riley said.
Lives included at the courthouse.
"All that training pays off in the end because they were able to respond quickly and appropriately and took the necessary measures to make sure everyone was safe," Smith said.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office does the training twice each month.