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Training for incidents like Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut is quickly becoming a priority in the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, with the sheriff-elect promising to revitalize such training, something that has been more difficult to provide deputies in recent years given budget cuts.

“We have to see where (the) overtime budget is, but I assure we’re going to do some type of training, in conjunction with school resource officers,” Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch said Monday, emphasizing how important the issue is to him.

The office currently provides on-site active-shooter response training at various locations including schools, hospitals and churches, something implemented several years ago, said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks, spokesman for the office. There is also periodic refresher training, he added.

“The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., will undoubtedly factor into the way law enforcement agencies across the nation move forward with their training,” Wilbanks said. “Failing to learn from such a horrific event and adapting at least some aspects of our thinking would only serve to worsen the tragedy.”

The agency cannot divulge specifics on the training for security reasons, but the program is conducted by office training staff and is aimed at preparing deputies for a situation in which one or more gunmen are “attempting to inflict mass casualties in a densely occupied area,” he said.

Read the rest of Emma Witman’s report at Gainsville Times

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