‘Active shooter’ classes offered to county workers 7/8/2016

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 8, 2016

‘Active shooter’ classes offered to county workers

By Rupert Howell
Active shooter classes will be offered to Panola County employees who, at the end of the course, will be qualified to acquire enhanced carry permits for firearms, Supervisors learned during Tuesday’s July meeting in Sardis.

Sheriff Dennis Darby and Lieutenant Deputy Investigator Barry Thompson said the course will be offered on Saturdays to small classes at the meeting room at Panola County Jail. Thompson and two NRA certified deputies will teach the course to those employees interested.

Citing three recent incidents at the Sardis Courthouse, Darby told supervisors that it took a while for Sardis Police Department to respond.

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Supervisors last month discussed the need for an active shooter plan after Emergency management Director Daniel Cole recommended upgrading and extending “panic button” services at the courthouses in Batesville and Sardis.

“If you don’t have an active shooter plan, you don’t know what to do,” Darby told supervisors in that June meeting and later asked, “Is there anybody in this courthouse with a gun that can use it?”

The June discussion was brought about after active shooter occurrences around the country appeared to be on the increase. A metal detector is used during all court sessions in the county.
Cole said some county employees had seen an active shooter video and County Administrator Kelley Magee agreed the video helped answer some of the questions of what to do in an active shooter situation.

Thompson explained the classes were a safety issue for county employees.

“We’ve got a couple of high profile cases coming up that may draw national attention,” Thompson said.

Thompson said classes would be held Saturdays with instructors volunteering their time and the only cost to the county would be ammunition.

Other Sheriff Department business included retiring K-9 officer Rocket, a dual purpose dog used for sniffing out drugs and explosives, due to age.

Supervisors also approved a trade of 10 Panola County Drug Task Force weapons valued at $1,750 for two pistols and a rifle.