New Columbia Co. school safety officers not taking part in sheriff office's active shooter training

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.(WJBF)- - While your children are on summer break, Columbia County deputies have been doing active shooter training.

The school board is also hiring armed officers for all schools.

But so far, those hired school officers haven't participated in active shooter training with the sheriff's office, this summer.

"I think it should be a requirement, not a 'Hey, if you guys want to,'" said one Columbia County parent.

"We've been in contact with them, we've sent them emails...they haven't shown up yet," said Staff Sgt. Dave Wheeler with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Assistant Superintendent Penny Jackson says they have a good relationship with the sheriff's office but the new officers couldn't participate this summer because they aren't on the payroll just yet.

"They don't start until August 1. Of, course they've had their own...all of them are certified so they've had to keep their safety training current," said Jackson.

Meanwhile, it's valuable training for the men and women of the sheriff's office.

Each year is different. Looking at the bad guys tactics and being one step ahead.

"We also look at the mistakes we make as law enforcement and one big mistake that we made this year and when I say we, I talk about law enforcement, was the Parkland school shooting," said Wheeler.

During the Parkland school shooting, the school safety officer never entered the building.

So, this year, the sheriff's office is doing single entry training.

Jackson says the 23 new armed safety officers in every Columbia County school are also trained when it comes to active shooters.

"All are well trained in school safety, firearms, protection, some of the ALERT training, ALICE training," said Assistant Superintendent Penny Jackson.

Highly qualified, but still not a part of the sheriff's office active shooter training happening in their future schools this summer.

"If we're making entry in one part of the school and somebody is making entry in another part, then you're not only going to have a cross fire situation, but it's going to be extremely confusing," said Wheeler.

Jackson says that all the school safety officers will be going through their own ALICE training, which is a type of active shooter training, in local schools towards the end of July.

Jackson also says she would like the officers to train with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office during the summer, as they do the rest of the year, and with advanced notice, the school system may be able to adjust the officer's calendar.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says they will give the Board of Education advanced notice about the four hour course just as they did this year and in previous years.

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