Run, Fight ... Survive

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Sheriff’s Office offers active-shooter training

By Bryan Marshall

Chairs barricade the doors from inside the Grant County District Courtroom to keep intruders out.
Those left inside scurry around looking for either a place to hide or a place to shield themselves in case shots are fired.
A horn sounds, followed by seconds of deafening silence.


Suddenly, two armed assailants bust through the door, defying any obstacle placed in front of them, with their weapons drawn.
Ping pong balls are flung at the intruders fruitlessly as yellow pellets fly toward would-be victims.
Everything stops.
Finally, laughter fills the air.

What may have seemed like a real-life attack on the Grant County Justice Center was only a simulation to train judges, clerks and other staff in case the real danger ever became reality.
Grant County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Morgan led the recent ALICE training, a tool he has taught teachers at Grant County and Williamstown Independent Schools the past four years.

It was the first time the training had been held in a courtroom setting.
ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, and the purpose of the training is to provide preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.

“It teaches them how to be safe if we have a violent intruder. not only with a gun but with a knife, or anyone willing to do harm,” Morgan said. “Instead of being a sitting duck, now they either evacuate or counter whatever the guy is doing by fighting back. “I want them to realize they can win a fight. Don’t be a victim. Survive. We talk a lot about, if you get shot or stabbed, it’s going to hurt, but you don’t need to die. You can survive that.”

Grant Circuit Court Clerk Tina Melton said the training was everything that she had hoped it would be.  
“The sheriff’s staff answered all my questions,” Melton said. “I feel that my deputy clerks are now ready to face whatever comes our way here in the office.”

Even if the participants knew the simulations were only part of the training, Morgan said they now know what to do in the unlikely event a real situation occurs at the workplace.

“If you don’t have the training, you don’t know what to do,” Morgan said. “So, you freeze. And, that’s the worst thing you can do. If you make your mind up that you’re going to leave the area, then you’re fine. If you make your mindset that you’re going to fight, then you fight. We give them that sense of security of, ‘I can survive this and I know what to do.’”