PRESTONSBURG – Law enforcement officers receive training on various situations they may encounter when they are in the field while attending police academy. Once on the job they continue to receive training on different situations and update and refresh their job skills. On, June 13 Sargent Kevin Shepherd of the Floyd County Sheriff’s office traveled to Morehead State University (MSU) for a weeklong National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) active shooter training.
In 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated a study of active shooter incidents to provide federal, state, local, campus and tribal law enforcement with accurate data to better understand how to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from these incidents. An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Between 2000 and 2013 the FBI identified 160 active shooter incidents that occurred in the United States. On the average there are 11.4 active shooter incidents annually and this number continues to rise.
According to USA Today, since 1970, more American’s have been killed on United States soil due to gun violence than all wars combined.
Although Floyd County has escaped the violence of an active shooter incident, Sheriff John Hunt wants his deputies prepared for any possible threats that could arise. Shepherd ventured to MSU to become a certified instructor in active shooting tactical training. He is already preparing to bring his new skills to other members of the Floyd County Sheriff Department should an active shooter incident occur.
Shepherd received training both inside the classroom and in the field. Real weapons were used. However, simulated ammo was used instead of actual rounds. The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department has ordered new equipment and training weapons that feel, look and sound like real weapons but shoot foam instead of bullets.
“I am looking forward to bringing the skills I learned at training back to our department,” Shepherd said. “In today’s communities, it really isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but instead when it will happen. Law enforcement arrive on the scene sometimes alone and have to make split second decisions. Our goal is to neutralize the shooter by whatever means necessary. Safety of the innocent individuals involved in the situation is our top concern. As law enforcement officers, we take an oath to protect the public, and that may mean putting ourselves in harm’s way. If an active shooter incident should occur in Floyd County, Floyd County Sheriff Deputies will be ready and prepared with the knowledge and skills of how to handle the situation.”
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at 606-886-8506.