By Donna Thornton/News Editor
The Etowah County Sheriff’s Office planned an active shooter drill this morning (Dec. 20) at the Etowah County Courthouse.
Etowah County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Natalie Barton said the office wanted everyone to be informed in advance that the drill is just that – a training exercise – to prevent undue fear.
“All courthouse employees are aware of the drill,” Barton said, and the courthouse was expected to be closed to the public from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Friday when the drill is conducted.
Sheriff’s office personnel were to be on hand that morning to keep citizens out of the courthouse.
While the sheriff’s office and county officials wanted people to know the drill is coming, no details were provided of what the mock incident will entail or where in the courthouse it will occur.
The exercise will simulate an active shooter inside the building. A full law enforcement response will take place. The drill is a continuation of Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response (ALERRT) training and Run, Hide, Fight training taught by the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office.
“We want the drill to be as close to reality as possible,” Barton said. There may be law enforcement radio traffic related to the incident, she said.
Etowah County Chief Deputy Michael Barton said the drill will track responses from 911 calls through the end of the exercise. There will be a debriefing, Etowah County Safety Coordinator Spencer Gray said, and an after-action report.
“Every day, in this country, there is an active shooter situation in a public place,” says Sheriff Todd Entrekin.
“Over the past year we have trained law enforcement officers, teachers, those in businesses and the medical field to be prepared in case an event of this type happens in our community.”
“We hope no one ever has to use this training but, want everyone to be ready for whatever situation arises” Entrekin continued.