Sioux Center, Iowa — A number of area law enforcement officers took part in a one-day training event recently at the Sioux Center Christian School.
Sioux County Sheriff Jamie Van Voorst tells us the active shooter response tactical training was led by the FBI, teaching area law enforcement officers ways to prepare for an active shooter situation. He says the school was empty during this training and simulation weapons were used.
Van Voorst says, “In light of recent events, I think it is more important than ever that we train and prepare. Recent school active shooter incidents have shown us what to do, as well as what not to do. It’s my opinion, we must think in terms of ‘not if, but when’ an active shooter situation will happen here, or at least in close proximity to us. I pray I am wrong about that, but if not, we will be prepared to face and respond effectively and quickly because of training like this.”
He tells us that not only did the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office participate, but so did officers from the Sioux Center Police Department, Orange City Police Department, Rock Valley Police Department, Hawarden Police Department, and the Hinton Police Department.”
Van Voorst tells us there were several courses throughout the day that included teaching officers different entry methods, which simulated schools and businesses. They also practiced communication, giving medical attention, and different ways to enter classrooms both alone and with multiple officers.
The sheriff says that another valuable reason for practicing together is that if there were a real-life active shooter situation, any available officer, county-wide, would respond, so it’s advantageous to practice together.
Sheriff Van Voorst says, “One of the things that ease my mind is, we already have one school resource officer (SRO) and we will be adding a second SRO soon. That will allow us to maintain an officer presence, as well as build a rapport and maintain relationships with students and school staff in the schools we serve and continue the training of school staff and students as well.”
Van Voorst says that keeping students as safe as possible is their goal and focus.