Active school shooter drill keeps Long Beach first responders ready, schools safer

Thursday, the Long Beach Police and Fire departments conducted their annual active shooter training drill.
Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 10:56 PM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - As the Long Beach School District prepares to welcome students back to campus, they’re making sure safety is a top priority.

Thursday, the Long Beach Police and Fire departments conducted their annual active shooter training drill.

Captain Patrick Craig said three minutes is the national average response time to a crisis scene. So, these first responders are putting their skills to the test.

“We do conduct an annual active shooter drill. And we do change schools every year so officers are familiar with the school layouts and floor plans to have an idea of where they’re responding and what they need to do first,” Captain Craig explained.

The officers and firefighters work as a team to develop a strategic safety route to take down a school shooter. We won’t show the exact tactics used in the exercises, but this day’s plan targeted communication and strategy.

“We try to benefit every officer and get the most out of each scenario that we can,” said Craig.

Long Beach Schools Superintendent Talia Lock said the district recently received a $1 million grant to, among other things, hire two counselors to help conflict-resolution situations.

“It helps us secure faculty and staff on our campuses to basically take preventative measures for any students that we see or displaying certain behaviors or raising certain red flags,” said Lock.

Administrators are also monitoring school grounds with an extra set of eyes: two school resource officers.

“You have to pretty much be on guard at all times and consistently make your processes better, consistently see where your weaknesses are and make those better. Always have the communication with our police department or fire department,” said Lock.

Funds also covered new features and 3D mapping of campuses.

“We have implemented more platforms that are going to help us. It’ll provide for us places we can go without impacting the entire campus,” said District Safety Manager Shane Rutledge.

“Our officers need to have those mental tools through equipment, that way when something does happen they know what to respond to and how,” said Craig.

The Long Beach School District is looking to hire two additional school resource officers.

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