Long Beach Police Learn From Jonesboro School Shooting - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach Police Learn From Jonesboro School Shooting

Saturday afternoon, Long Beach police officer Rusty Schoultz posed as a gunman who has just started firing at students at Long Beach High. It's the job of officers to find him and arrest him and then locate the victims. 

Training in real life situations is critical.

"You can be told something and shown something, but until you actually get on the ground and do it yourself, it's hard actually to make it all come together," Officer Schoultz said.

But, it's not just police officers who were learning a lesson. 

"Give the communication staff a real taste of what it's like to receive numerous calls while they're having to handle the radio traffic," Schoultz said.

Officers also spent a few hours in the classroom. They heard a first hand account of how difficult it is to arrive on the scene of a school shooting. It happened in Rick Elliott's hometown of Jonesboro, Ark., three years ago. 

"It is very important that the schools and police start getting together and developing plans," said Elliott.  "I've found a lot of school districts don't have disaster plans of any sort in place."

Elliott encourages school districts to be extremely tough by strictly enforcing zero tolerance policies. He tells police departments that planning for all aspects of school violence is also important. 

"We found that the news media was the biggest problem to deal with on an incident of this nature," Elliott said.

Among Elliott's suggestions was delegating just one person to give out all the information to the media.

The Long Beach Police Department will have anotehr training session for officers on April 21st.

By Amanda Jones

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