Teacher Tristan Brown feels safer after Rutherford County Sheriff's school resource officers trained for an active aggressor scenario Tuesday at a county elementary school.
"It makes me feel safer they're prepared," said Brown, a Siegel High School marketing teacher who played a victim during the all-day scenario. "This gives me an opportunity to be as close as it can get about what I can do. I love our SROs."
SRO Capt. Brad Harrison said several SROs completed a federal active threat instructor's course this summer to better prepare for school safety. SROs spent the last week of summer vacation learning the latest trends on how to respond to an active aggressor.
After watching the exercise, Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said he felt confident the SROs could respond if needed.
During the exercise, adult and student volunteers posed as victims of an active aggressor while several posed as students and teachers trying to escape. Thirteen principals watched the exercise.
SRO Austin Mobbs said SROs responded to the aggressor, then learned how to care for injured victims until paramedics arrive. They also learned how to handle the emotional toll after the incident.
Students Jess Escobar and Taylor Benge were stationed outside the school where they posed as injured victims and screamed for help.
Oakland High School graduate Bo Fowler, who posed as a victim, said the exercise was helpful.
"It was good practice for the cops to get a taste of what is happening," Fowler said.
Stewarts Creek High School junior Cason Smith volunteered because he thought it would be a good opportunity as an actor and student. The exercise shows how the SROs prepared to make the exercise realistic, he said.
Principal Christy Brown of John Colemon Elementary told the SROs, "Thank you for protecting us. Thank you to the students who participated."
SRO Matt Roe credited the success of the exercise to volunteers from Blackman Middle and High Schools, Siegel Middle and High Schools, Stewarts Creek High School, Oakland High School, MTSU, Austin Peay State University, John Colemon Elementary School teachers and the Sheriff's Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Dewayne Sadler of Little Caesars Pizza of Smyrna provided pizzas for volunteers.
SRO Sgt. Irvin Turner commended the safety team who planned the training that was "pretty intense. Nobody wants to fail this. Hopefully, we won't ever have to use it."