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'Active killer' training at Clark-Pleasant Community Schools to help personnel, police

"That's probably the toughest thing in your career you could ever think about dealing with," said Whiteland principal Benji Betts.

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — Clark-Pleasant Community Schools hosted a two-day event to teach school personnel, police and firefighters how to respond to someone with a weapon inside a school.

Part of the training involved classroom education, learning about tactics and trends.

Then they participated in a live-action scenario in the north annex of Whiteland Community High School, focused on a taking out a "fake suspect" with a gun.

For school leaders and first responders, it's a worst-case scenario as kids and school staff would be in danger from an active shooter.

"That's probably the toughest thing in your career you could ever think about dealing with," said Whiteland principal Benji Betts. "But hopefully doing things like this in case it ever does happen, we're all prepared."

It's not required by law, but this is Whiteland's third year holding this type of drill. School police said it's essential to preparing a response to an active threat.

Eighty staffers from five Johnson County-area school districts were acting as role players and observers.

Credit: WTHR

Police from several agencies and firefighters too, then practiced finding the killer and clearing classrooms.

It's meant to boost confidence for those first responders, when facing a deadly threat. It all looks and feels very real on purpose.

"How does your body react to stimulus and how does it react to stress," said Chad Pryce, Clark-Pleasant Schools chief of police. "The body won't go where the mind's not been and so having the ability to walk through those things? It's huge when it comes to actually dealing with those things."

There were a couple of hiccups during the simulation.

Just getting in the building proved difficult for the first group of police who responded. They had to work through and figure out how to gain access through locked doors. Some officers in the halls didn't have radios to communicate properly.

Credit: WTHR

Despite the difficulties, Pryce said the teams worked together toward one goal.

"Be the one that can end that threat as quick as possible and save as many as you possibly can," Pryce said. "It's straight to the threat. It's not one of those where we're sitting back and being passive. It's straight to the threat."

A group of dozens of school personnel sat in an observation room, watching the training unfold on closed-circuit TVs.

Along with first responders, they'll now analyze everyone's actions to fine tune skills and best prepare for a situation they hope is never actually needed in school.

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