How does the Washoe County School District Prepare for an Armed Intruder?
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When police receive a call of an armed person inside a school, it's called an active shooter situation.
Twice a year school staff and the 38 Washoe County School District police officers train for that possibility.
School district police officers train administrators who train staff. They learn lockdown procedures, hear presentations on the history of school shootings, signs and symptoms to look for in students, and the importance on keeping exterior doors locked.
If an active shooter is in a building, officers follow a procedure known as "solo officer entry."
"We will send the first officer on scene to immmediately address whatever threat is present on that campus," said Jason Trevino, Deputy Chief of Police in the Washoe County School District.
It is a procedure in response to the Columbine shooting. Previously, officers used to surround the scene and wait for a SWAT Team to enter.
School District Officers are also trained to understand the motives of shooters in past incidents and possible scenarios they could face.
"The training is pretty graphic that we provide to staff," Trevino said. "We don't sugar coat it. We really want them to see what kind of violence is out there so they have a better sense of preparedness for it in case it does happen."
In an elementary school like Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, teachers play a key role.
"The teacher definitely becomes the role model at that point, "Trevino said. "If the teacher is able to remain calm and follow the procedures there's a much higher likelihood that the children will remain calm and be able to do what they've been trained to do."
Recently, the Washoe County School District has taken steps to prevent intruders from entering schools, including fencing the perimeters of schools to ensure people only enter from one location.