78° F Saturday, June 24, 2017

By Terry Hagerty

It is situation one doesn’t want to imagine – an armed intruder at a Smithville school.

But in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., Virginia Tech and Columbine, Colo. shootings that resulted in the loss of many students and staff, Smithville Police Chief Rudy Supak is making sure his officers are prepared.

They will participate in what Supak called “an active shooter” situation at Smithville High School this Saturday and Sunday. He said he wanted to alert the public about the training.

Supak said the training “teaches officers not to sit and wait” for a SWAT team to arrive but “to take action for an active shooter at a school.”

He said the recent events in Connecticut and at the Boston Marathon played a part in his moving forward with training he was already familiar with.

“Due to the recent events, there’s a changing atmosphere in the U.S., and we wanted to make sure our local officers are trained properly to handle varying situations,” Supak said.

He said the training will be as realistic as possible.

“We will actually get shot at with rubber bullets,” Supak said. “And you know you are going to have welts for a week if you get hit.”

But he emphasized his officers will don protective head gear.

He said the group conducting the training is Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, referred to as “ALERRT,” and is based at Texas State University in San Marcos.

The organization’s website – www.alerrt.org – notes that it was created in 2002 “as a partnership between the University, the San Marcos Police Department and the Hays County Sheriff’s Office to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders.”

Requests for the training have also increased in the wake of the Newton tragedy.

“Beyond the normal demand for training, we have received a great number of requests from around the nation for ALERRT active shooter response training in the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting,” according to website information.

Supak said a grant that ALERRT received will fund the Smithville Police Department’s training.

He said other are law enforcement will be involved.

“We have four to five agencies participating including DPS and Hays County officers,” Supak said.

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