Fall River Deputy instructs first active shooter training for local officers

Isnalawica Belt says the best course of action is to prepare first responders even if it isn't statistically likely

6activeshootertrainingHOT SPRINGS, S.D. – After the Uvalde school shooting, May 24, that left 19 students and two teachers fatally shot, Law Enforcement agencies across the country are re-evaluating and improving their response to active shooter situations.

“Through research conducted by ALERRT, which is the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center in the Texas State University, what they found is that attacks most often happen in areas that are considered affluent or upper-middle class areas, and that can be metro areas and that can also be rural areas as well,” Fall River Sheriff’s Office Deputy Isnalawica Belt said.  “We can see, as recently as Uvalde, people believe that these types of incidents don’t happen in small communities and that’s just not true.”

Deputy Belt instructed the training in Hot Springs school, Thursday and Friday.

Belt says that they hope it never happens, but since there’s no way yet to predict one or prevent one, law enforcement should always be prepared for an active shooter situation.

“As far as we know, the best course of action that we can take as enforcement is to be proactive and prepare all of our officers, as well as our Fire and EMS services to be able to handle the situation should it ever come to pass,” he said.

Belt came from the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety, allowing him to receive his training from a federal academy which is different from training at a state academy.

Federal law enforcement training centers have the resources and budget to have more updated training which is more often reviewed, refined and refreshed than on a state level.

Belt felt that training was needed at the state level.

“I felt it was prudent for me to one, educate myself [and] two, pass that knowledge on to my officers. And three, try to push this out to the3policenotes community so we can prepare for that worst case event.” he said.

Seven officers participated from several area agencies – the Hot Springs Police Department, Fall River County Sheriff’s Office, the Hot Springs School Resource Officer and a conservation officer with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

The day started with general information on active shooter situations and how the scene should be handled, before officers practiced moving through hallways safely with team members.

Officers were also told a few times that at any scene, they should take a few deep breaths – also known as combat breaths – to remain calm and think things through before making any rash decisions.

Officers felt it was important to have the information.

“Just having the knowledge to be able to know what to do, how to do it, how to effectively do it and go through and protect people that you can while eliminating those threats.” LexyJo Deneke, Hot Springs Police Officer, said.

The training was only for law enforcement, but Belt hopes to coordinate resources with local fire departments and ambulance services to also give them trainings on how to handle active shooter situations.

To learn more about the Hot Springs Police Department or Fall River County Sheriff’s Office, you can click to visit their Facebook pages.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News