Law enforcement agencies participate in an active-shooter training exercise on East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus in this 2018 file photo. Active-shooter drills this year will take place at The Communiversity July 22 and at the college’s Golden Triangle campus Aug. 9.

July 20, 2022

Active shooter drills will take place at The Communiversity Friday, July 22, and at East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The EMCC Campus Police Department will serve as the lead agency for the July 22 training exercise at The Communiversity that will include members of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, as well as school resource officers from K-12 schools in the Lowndes County School District.

Members of the EMCC Campus Police Department would be the first to respond to an incident at The Communiversity or the college’s Golden Triangle campus.

“The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department would likely respond the quickest, along with law enforcement agencies from Clay and Oktibbeha counties,” EMCC Campus Police Department Assistant Chief Barry Johnson, Sr., said. “Many of the deputies from those agencies have not been on our campuses. Drills like this provide them with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the layout of our buildings and gives us an opportunity to train together so we know what to expect if something were to happen.”

The July 22 training exercise will begin at 7:45 a.m. and is expected to last until about noon. One wing of The Communiversity will be cordoned off during the drill and portions of the parking lot may be cordoned off.

During the exercise participating officers and deputies will respond to a call of a shooter, or shooters, on campus. Both the law enforcement officers and those assigned the role of shooter(s) will be armed with rounds that fire paintballs. It will be up to the law enforcement officers to neutralize the shooter(s). A debriefing to analyze the response will take place after the drill is completed.

The Aug. 9 active-shooter drill is part of a week-long active-shooter training exercise at EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus that will include first responders from agencies throughout the Golden Triangle area and perhaps beyond. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department will be the lead agency for that training exercise that will begin at 8 a.m. and last most of the day.

Portions of the Douglas Building will be roped off during the drill, which will include an active-shooter scenario, with law enforcement officers and the shooter(s) armed with rounds that fire paintballs.

“This is a larger training event and first responders from law enforcement agencies, Emergency Medical Services and fire departments from throughout the area have been invited to attend,” Barry said. “The training is being offered at no cost due to federal grants.”

The Aug. 9 active-shooter exercise is part of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) at Texas State University, which will take place on EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus Aug. 8-12. Guest speakers and subject matter experts from ALERRT at Texas State will conduct classroom training and exercises in the fields of active-shooter response and terrorism response tactics.

“Our sincere hope is that a need for this training never arises,” EMCC Dean of Students and Vice President of Enrollment Management Dr. Melanie Sanders said. “The safety of our students, faculty and staff is paramount, however, and our desire is to be as prepared as is possible. We are grateful for this training exercise and for the members of our EMCC Police Department, as well as for all of the dedicated law enforcement officers and first responders who work hard to protect the communities they serve.”