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Atlanta Public Schools Police Officers Train in Active Shooter Drills

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 11:40 AM EDT

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Just days before the start of the new school year, several police officers who work for Atlanta Public Schools took part in training drills Thursday designed to see how they would handle an active shooter situation inside a school building.

After seeing the fallout after that mass shooting at the end of the last school year in Uvalde, Texas, many Atlanta parents want to know if APS officers would stand by and wait for permission to engage or if they would take immediate action.

“We train our officers, ‘You’ve got to go,” said Chief of Police Ronald Applin. “You have to get to that shooter. Stop his aggression so that no one else is hurt.”

In the training, the officers use nonlethal weapons. The good guys’ guns leave a blue mark. The bad guys’ guns leave a bright pink mark. During some of the scenarios in Thursday’s drills, the officer pretending to be a school shooter won. In others, the officers prevailed.

“It’s as close as we can get without actually being in a gunfight,” said Applin, “and if that helps them, then that’s all the better for our officers.”

Applin said the best response, though, is prevention. It’s why he’s training his officers to build relationships with students to prevent violence.

“We have students come and say, ‘Hey, they’re talking about fighting at 3 o’clock.’ We’re able to get ahead of that, so when we can do things like that, parents can encourage their kids to share with us when they have issues,” said Applin. “All those things put together create what I call a layered approach to dealing with security in schools.”