GEORGETOWN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - It was not your typical classroom.
The class Monday involved ten Williamson County deputies who are school resource officers at two high schools and five middle schools.
Monday the head of the program, Lieutenant Derrick Dutton, brought his team to the ALERRT training facility in San Marcos.
“We are just trying to increase the abilities of the officers assigned to the schools just through training they may or may not have experienced in the past,” said Dutton.
The assignment for the day make entry through a barricaded door. And how to react if the threat on the other side is armed.
“They have to be more so than a normal patrolman, they have to have better skills in communications, they have to have more ability to de-escalate situations quicker, at the same time you have you flip the switch when it’s time to react tactically and be able to effectively be efficient and affective as a tactical officer as well,” said Dutton.
Among those in the class was Deputy James Briggs. He is the SRO at McNeil High School.
“I just tell them I’m there for them. So, I’m sure they’re going to come to my office and say hey what happened what’s going on,” said Briggs.
Briggs came to the exercise with a specific goal in mind.
“The biggest thing I want to take away is, just be more prepared.thats what I would say,” said Briggs.
For the school resource officer‘s tactical training is not just about learning how to kick in a door.This job involves interacting with teenagers on a daily basis and it’s vital they know how to identify a personal crisis before it becomes a threat.
With dealing with juveniles it’s a 45. 45. 10. 45% counseling, 45% educator, were educating kids in the Hall, and 10% law-enforcement is our goal,” said Sgt Deanna Lewis.
Lewis is a supervisor with the SRO program. While she understands the importance of a training day like this one, Lewis say a broad comprehensive approach is needed to prepare for and to prevent threats at schools.
“We need the training piece on how to recognize the mental health crisis piece, and we need the resources to somewhere to send theses folks to, to give them the help we need, and on the mental health piece we as Law enforcement, we need sometimes that piece of support for some of the things we witness and that we go through,” said Lewis.
Training exercises like this one is still a stark reminder that resolving a crisis also requires being ready to use deadly force.