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Conway Police Department trains for school emergencies ahead of first day

First responders are preparing their teams with hands-on training to respond to active shooters, bombs, and medical emergencies.

CONWAY, Ark. — As the new school year approaches and teachers prepare to welcome back students, safety has been a top concern on many people's minds.

Now, law enforcement officials have been training on campus in case of an emergency.

"It's always been a priority for me and my team to get all of our officers trained up as well as we can to respond to any kind of emergency," said Conway Police Sergeant JP Bolling.

Bolling led the hands-on training, where officers practiced how to quickly respond to multiple different scenarios. 

"Mostly we've been doing movements through the hallways, building clearing, room clearing exercises and response to active shooter and also medical emergency," Sgt. Bolling said.

He said that practicing inside the school makes it more realistic, and will help better prepare his officers. 

"It helps us just get a feel for the layout of the building so that if we ever had to come in here for an emergency, it's not the first time our officers have seen the layout of the rooms in the hallways," he said.

Following the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, school safety has been on many parents' minds. Sergeant Bolling wants them to know that they take each training exercise very seriously.

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"We're getting all of our officers trained up to the same level as well as surrounding agencies so that when multiple agencies respond to the same scene, we're all operating off the same playbook and we can work together," he explained.

Conway Assistant Superintendent Jason Black said that the officers' training has given him some peace of mind. 

"I'm a parent, I have three students that are going to be in Conway, and knowing that we take this amount of time for safety, to make sure that we have logistics communication, that everybody's on the same page. It's always a work in progress," Black said.

Black added the school district also has safety plans in case of emergencies. 

"We have district emergency response teams that we're generating and working on with campus emergency response teams, and our SROs are part of that process," he said.

Despite this, he also welcomes any feedback from first responders. 

"It could be anything from a recommendation to that they feel good about the way we're doing things logistically, and we want to keep an open-door communication, make sure we're hearing what they have to say they have a different perspective," he said.

Conway's first day of school, along with many other Arkansas districts, is August 22nd.

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