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Gallatin County first responders train for active shooter situations

By Elizabeth Fitz,


BOZEMAN — Following the latest school shooting in Nashville, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) said on Thursday that it is working with local schools to prepare for active shooter situations.

“Every patrol officer is equipped with the necessary equipment that they need to address that threat,” said Sgt. Clint Harper, Training Sergeant for GCSO.

Patrol deputies in Gallatin County would be the first to respond in an active shooter situation, he explained.

“Our response—we're not waiting on anyone. If you're there and you're the only person there, you're going in and you're gonna address the threat."

GCSO shared that there are two phases to their response.

“In any active killer situation, there is phase one, which we call 'stopping the killing,'" said Undersheriff Jeremy Kopp. "And of equal importance- immediately following that- is stopping the dying.”

It's a collaborative effort between local, state and federal agencies, Undersheriff Kopp described.

He added, “What you would often see is a response that is a blend of law enforcement. You might have deputies, municipal police officers, state and federal agents that would respond to the incident."

The Sheriff's Office said collaborating with local schools is especially important.

“They have their response model. If there is an incident, we have coordinated ways for us to get into their buildings as quickly as possible and start moving to the threats, and that requires effort and collaboration by law enforcement and our school districts. I can say in this county, we have great coordination between all of our school districts and our law enforcement," GCSO explained.

To best prepare local law enforcement for active shooter situations, Sgt. Harper said, drills must be as realistic as possible.

“Shooting the blank guns, having people running around—victims—alarms going; stuff that they would encounter in a real event.”

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