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Officers train for shooting scenario

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Law enforcement officers lead volunteers acting as students to safety during an active shooter scenario Tuesday at Nash Central High School.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cries for help echoed down the halls of Nash Central High School on Tuesday as Operation Bulldog got underway.

Operation Bulldog was a multi-agency exercise that took place on the campus of the high school and was staged at Nash Community College. More than 40 members of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, the Rocky Mount Police Department, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the State Highway Patrol and the Nashville, Sharpsburg, Tarboro, Spring Hope and Pinetops police departments took part in the active-shooter training.

Members of the Rocky Mount Fire Department and Nash County and Edgecombe County EMS took part in the operation. Including support personnel, students and community members who acted in the scenario and observers, more than 100 people participated in the six-hour operation.

“This collaborative partnership between these agencies is as realistic as it gets today,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone told the Telegram at the scene on Tuesday.

The imaginary scenario began with a radio transmission from a law enforcement officer at Nash Central High School to Nash County Communications regarding suspicious persons at the school. Then communications from the officer went dead. A series of phone calls from other people in the school then poured in.

Assuming that an active shooter was on site and that an officer was down, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies descended on the school with guns drawn.

“Lockdown, lockdown, this is an emergency situation,” blared over the school intercom, as officers searched the premises, noting victims and searching for the threat. 

“I feel that this training indicates that we will be able to respond well together and keep the schools and community safe if an event like this ever occurs,” Stone said.

Tuesday’s scenario ended well. The suspect was apprehended, the victims were treated and students and staff members were escorted from the building.

The purpose of the Operation Bulldog Full Scale Exercise was to test the public safety response in the case of such an event. However, the operation did not end when the scenario was over. Participants meet afterward to discuss what went right in the operation and what can be improved.

Brandon Medina, chief deputy of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, noted one improvement that needed to be made early on in the operation.

“The Nash County deputies have cards that give them access to schools, but the other agencies have to use their keys to open the lock boxes to get into the schools. We need to all get on the same page with this,” Medina said.

Aside from the practice and knowledge gained from the experience, Medina said the operation helped members of the various law enforcement agencies connect and improve their ability to function together.

“Stuff like this is how we all get to know each other,” Medina said.

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