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'We want to be well prepared:' An inside look at Active Shooter Training in Arkansas

Recent mass shootings across the country have left many on edge wondering how to stay safe when the unthinkable happens.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Imagine you are at work or school and get a notification that there is active shooter.

Are you prepared? Do you have a plan in place?

These are questions that the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department wanted answers to, along with many more.

"We want to be well prepared and more than prepared in the event that it happens," said Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods.

Recent mass shootings across the country have left so many on edge wondering how to stay safe when the unthinkable happens.

"A plan is not a good plan unless it has been tested," Woods said.

It's an emergency plan that Woods said his department has had in place since 2019. The goal is to make it as realistic as possible

"The best way to test that is a real-life scenario, at least presentation on seeing whether or not we can kind of gauge and grade the response of those employees," Woods described.

That's something they put into practice as deputies and the SWAT Team recently entered the Jefferson County Courthouse to reenact an active shooter situation.

"Much of what we were testing is to make sure that individuals [are] following protocols based on our emergency management plan as it relates to evacuation [and] notification," Woods said.

He considered the demonstration a success.

According to Woods, the average response time for police to respond to a scene is roughly three minutes.

That three minutes is extremely crucial for both those in danger and the officers. 

"Most times when these extreme events occur and have stopped, they occur long before law enforcement arrives," Woods said.

It's an effort that others are practicing too. Cabot Police Department is considering a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events training (CRASE) if they get enough public support.

Back in Pine Bluff though, Woods said Jefferson County has had the program for years.

"That can save a life because ultimately, if they're not prepared they would be seriously injured or even killed while they're waiting on law enforcement," Woods said. 

For him, watching the recent massacres happen across the country is shocking but he's hopeful more organizations get involved in the effort of preparedness.

"We hope that we get more calls about the training. We certainly have the capacity," Woods said.

Any organization or person that's interested can contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department for more information on the trainings.

Sheriff Woods said plans are in the works for another drill in the coming weeks at the courthouse.

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