EMA holds shooter talk

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2016

First responders, emergency management and educators came together Wednesday to discuss the unthinkable — how to deal with active shooters in schools.

Dallas County EMA Director Toya Stiles said she thought the discussion was needed just to be prepared.

“I wanted to do this exercise and invite different agencies from different areas because I feel like it’s essential for our schools to be prepared and know what to do if an active shooter were to enter,” Stiles said.

Law enforcement and educators went through different scenarios and how they might respond.

Stile said she wanted to help agencies come up with plans that are best for their systems.

Wallace Community College Selma Public Safety Director Charles Dysart was a speake and said he believed there was a lot of good information that could be taken back to the different counties represented.

“I think we were able to give them the basics and fundamentals they need, which was our goal. We wanted them to know they needed to practice good communication and reach out to their agencies. Once communication is established, plans can start being set up,” Dysart said.

Scott Haskell with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said he believed the discussion was needed.

“It was good to have all of the agencies and different entities in Dallas County in surrounding counties here for awareness,” Haskell said. “It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. The more information that gets put out and the more training people undergo will help save more lives.”

Wilcox County EMA worker Joyce Williams said she feels like information on active shooters is important and said she would be taking the things she learned at the discussion back to her agency.

“This was a good idea,” Williams said.

“We all need to be on the same page and what roles we play in case of a shooting incident at the schools,” Williams said. “I will definitely take this information back to my county and plan a tabletop exercise similar to this one. It was very helpful.”