By JOSH AULT6 News Reporter
ATHENS (WATE) - As many students prepare to return to school, McMinn County deputies are preparing for the unthinkable once schools open.
The deputies held their first school shooter training exercise Wednesday inside a school.
The training took place at Rogers Creek Elementary School, located just outside of Athens.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says he wanted his officers to know exactly how it would feel to encounter a school shooter.
Volunteers played victims so the officers could see what they would encounter when they entered the school."We appreciate the volunteers," said Sheriff Guy. "There are a lot of teacher's children and some department children. My own children are part of this."Sheriff Guy says officers decided to stage the department's first school shooter experience at Rogers Creek School because it is the most rural school in the county.
The sheriff says the main focus of the training was to eliminate the threat so there will be fewer casualties.
He says he appreciates the partnership with the school system in organizing the training. "It lets us know what can happen," said McMinn County Schools Supervisor of Safety Vant Hardaway. "We can role play and review, so it's a good planning situation."Several teachers also participated in Wednesday's training.
"I was really pleased they wanted to do this because the more you practice the better you're going to be," said Tim Daugherty, a teacher. "It makes the whole community safer."The sheriff says it takes a lot of preparation to do training exercises like the one held Wednesday, but they are planning to conduct more training sessions in other schools in the county.
McMinn County students return to school on August 8.
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