Campus Safety hosts local law enforcement agencies for rapid deployment training session

Providing a safe and secure environment for Bobcat students, faculty, and staff is a top priority at Lees-McRae. The college’s dedicated Campus Safety team has taken another step to ensure the campus community can live, learn, and work comfortably and safely with their latest rapid deployment training session.

Among other goals, rapid deployment training aims to prepare officers for high-stress situations such as an active shooter scenario. With this training session Lees-McRae Campus Safety officers hosted other law enforcement officers from throughout the community.

“We offered the class to all the law enforcement in the area. We reached out to Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Newland, Banner Elk, Avery County Sheriff’s Office, all the local police departments that, if we had an event on our campus, would be responding,” Chief of Campus Police Brandon Greer said. “We all worked together on this training so if those officers respond we have a better understanding of how we would work together, and for me it creates a bonding relationship with other agencies and allows us to get to know one another.”

According to Greer, creating a strong relationship between various local agencies is important because they all share the same goal: keeping the community safe. He said that the techniques taught in this training can be used anywhere throughout the county and in a variety of different emergency scenarios, building a safer community overall.

“Rapid deployment training itself doesn’t specifically have to be for an active shooter. A lot of the things we talk about when it comes to room entries, safely traveling through hallways, and threshold analysis are safety techniques that can be applied anywhere in law enforcement and can help these officers survive other critical incidents that are not an active shooter,” Greer said.

In addition to building a sense of community among the local police agencies, this training went beyond a simple scenario walkthrough. Officers used replica firearms, wore real protection gear, and were placed in a scenario where they had a similar sensory experience to a real disaster.

Not only does this help officers be more prepared, but it also gets them accustomed to making quick decisions under the bodily pressure that arises in high-stress situations. Greer said the stress response these type of events cause in your body can make higher order processing difficult, so by making the training scenario as realistic as possible officers were taught to manage those reactions.

“In training we want them to understand that when your heart rate goes up you lose focus, you get tunnel vision or narrowed vision, you lose fine motor skills,” Greer said. “Those are things we try to focus on and help with. We learn to control breathing to bring the heart rate down and help them regain widened vision and get their fine motor skills back.”

For many skills, effective and extensive training is the key to a successful outcome, and campus safety and security is no different.

“One of my favorite sayings in law enforcement is ‘planning for the worst and hoping for the best.’ We always want to train for the worst conditions ever,” Greer said. “At the end of the day, the biggest reason why we do this is because there are people here who we want to provide the safest atmosphere for.”

By Maya JarrellAugust 11, 2022
CommunityCampus Life