Opinion

Preparedness is essential

School shootings are an unfortunate reality, but fortunately for those who attend or work at schools in our area, local law enforcement are prepared for the worse.

Members of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol worked collaboratively Wednesday to train for a real-life school shooting incident. And our schools are safer because of it.

“It’s critical that we prepare for the worse, hoping that we never have to use it,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer.

The training simulation not only involved local law enforcement, but students, CSTOCK actors and sheriff’s cadets to help make it as real as possible.

An entire scenario was played out from beginning to end, from the first 911 call to student evacuation and hostage negotiations to the final debriefing.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, training and preparation is key. Had the situation at Virginia Tech been handled differently and had the students been evacuated when the first victims were found, would there have been a different outcome with less fatalities?

Hopefully this is a question that we in Kitsap County will never have to ponder. But should this scenario become a reality one day, Wednesday’s training will be beyond beneficial.

“This is a great opportunity for us to train with state patrol and our negotiators,” said Kitsap County Sheriff’s Chief of Detectives and SWAT Administrator Dave White. “We don’t often have a chance to train with other agencies.”

Not only was the simulation a way for law enforcement officers to train for a real world scenario, but it also identified the technical and communication issues that could arise. The problems identified during the training will hopefully help to eliminate any issues during a real incident when lives are at stake. Of course, there are many other factors that would come into play outside of a training scenario, but we can all rest better knowing that proper action is being taken to help save lives should this ever happen in our community.

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