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Exclusive: Deputies Practice for School Shooting and Hostage Situation

(WGNO) - Plaquemines Parish deputies spent the week practicing for the worst.  They studied ways to respond to a variety of live shooter situations, everything from a hostage situation to a mass shooting.  And they chose a location where the attacks happen too often, a school.

Deputies spent an entire day sitting in classrooms and studying various approaches to stop people bent on violence.  The following day, they returned to the classroom for the test.  But this time, they wore body armor.

Instructors created six different scenarios to test and hone what the deputies learned.  They used Glock pistols that were loaded with simunition bullets, which basically fire high-powered paint balls.  They also piped a loud recording of people screaming into the building.  Then it was time for the deputies to apply what they learned.

“We’re going to be ready for any and every kind of scenario that’s going to take place,” Sheriff Lonnie Greco told WGNO News in between tests.

The department wants to train all of its deputies on the live shooter responses.  Greco says the rules have changed — no longer do deputies simply secure the perimeter of a trouble scene and wait for the SWAT team to arrive.  The first deputies on the scene must rush to the danger and try to stop the violence.  He says, on any given day, that could be any deputy on the street.

“That can go from a patrol officer, a subpoena guy, a correctional officer, a SWAT team, narcotics detective.  Anybody,” he said.

To get a look at WGNO’s exclusive video from inside the drills, click on the video link above.