Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Laurens Police Dept., Clinton Dept. of Public Safety, PTC campus police and Laurens County EMS took part in the exercise.
PTC held the event to test the college’s ability to respond to an active shooter situation. PTC staff and personnel were a part of the exercise and afterwards participated in a debriefing with law enforcement and administration.
The drill was beneficial to PTC staff as well as local law enforcement. It ensured that PTC personnel and local agencies are equipped to respond to this type of situation in the most efficient and appropriate manner if such an event were to occur.
The exercise started with an active shooter in the lobby of the building. As the shooter made his way through the building, PTC personnel reacted as if it were a real situation.
Approximately two minutes after the first shot was fired, local law enforcement made entry in the building. After searching the building, they neutralized the active shooter and searched the building for other shooters and explosive devices. Personnel inside the building were escorted out and taken to triage.
Once the exercise was complete, all involved moved to a classroom for a debriefing.
“Did you recognize the sound of a gunshot indoors,” said PTC Director of Campus Police and Security Terry Ledford. “We wanted to make this as realistic as we could.”
Ledford asked the PTC staff how they felt when the first shots were fired. “I was in a total panic just like I knew I would,” said one member of the PTC staff.
Ledford explained the responsibilities of all involved when an active shooter enters the building.
“Law enforcement has one goal and that is to take out the threat,” said Ledford. “They are looking for the shooters and pipe bombs. Everyone is a suspect until proven otherwise.”
For students and staff, the expectations are different. “Shelter in place if necessary,” said Ledford. “Show your hands when you are coming out of the building. If you are shot or stabbed, it’s not like the movies, you have to fight back.”
After a series of questions and answers, Ledford thanked local law enforcement for taking part in the drill and left the PTC staff with one last thought.
“We’ve got a lot to think about and a lot to do. This is only scratching the surface.”