Welsh police officers hold active shooter training excercise
WELSH — Welsh police officers took part in an active shooter training exercise Tuesday ahead of the start of the new school year.
Nearly two dozen officers participated in the training at Welsh high and elementary schools.
“We want to ensure the parents that they can be at ease because our officers are here and they are trained if something would happen,” Police Chief Marcus Crochet said.
The training helped officers to be better prepared and to respond quickly to an incident, he said.
During the training, members of Lake Charles police’s SWAT team instructed the officers to respond to the actual threat, tactics to use including proper movement and formation and how to clear a room.
“The main thing to remember is to get there as fast as you can and as loud as you can,” instructor Kevin O’Rourke of the SWAT team said. “Go there loud and fast. We want them to know we are coming.”
O’Rourke also instructed the officers to think outside the box for using weapons other than guns to enter a building. He said small crow bars, battle axes and other tools can be used as alternatives.
“You have to do your work and you have to get in the building,” he said, noting that stopping a shooter means acting quickly and not waiting for other help to arrive.
The training is a sign of the times, said Welsh officer Shawn Donahoe.
“It’s necessary for us because at any given time of the year something could happen, as we have already seen all over the country,” he said. “With a small town we will be one of the first here and we need to know the basic movements and training to go a lot faster.”
Officer Aaron Ardoin said the training enabled officers to become familiar with the school.
“Something as simple as knowing the layout can make all the difference,” Ardoin said.
School crossing guard Jerry Doucet said the training eased a lot of his concerns.
“As a school crossing guard, I am going to be one of the first to hear the shooting and screaming,” Doucet said. “I need to know what to do.”
Jeff Davis Parish School Board Child Welfare and Attendance and Transportation Supervisor Ben Oustalet said local schools are trained to be proactive in handling crisis situations and other emergencies.
“We are in a time when we have to have due diligence and make plans,” he said. “It’s a small percentage of a chance that we will have an active shooter situation happen here, but we want to make sure we are prepared and working within our crisis plans.”
He said the School Board has taken an active approach in trying to emphasize school safety and focusing on its crisis plans to ensure students and staff know what to do during emergencies.
Throughout the school year schools conduct drills for evacuations, lock downs and shelter-in-place, fires and weather-related emergencies, he said.
‘It’s a small … chance that we will have an active shooter situation happen here, but we want to make sure we are prepared and working within our crisis plans.’
Jeff Davis Parish School Board
Welsh police officers Justin Olmsted and David Amrine participate in an active shooter training Tuesday at Welsh Elementary School. During the training, members of the Lake Charles police SWAT team instructed the officers to respond to the actual threat, tactics to use and how to clear a room.