With students out for spring break, several Denton County police departments conducted active-shooter training at a middle school this week.
Wednesday was the last of a four-day drill at Lake Dallas Middle School. Officers from Corinth, Hickory Creek, and Lake Dallas teamed up to train for one of their worst-case scenarios -- a school shooting.
"Because we're all smaller agencies, we rely on each other for resources and for situations that arise, we'd all [be] responding together," Corinth Lt. Jim Gregg said. "You've just got to be ready for the worst and prepare for it."
Gregg said they try to make the training as real as possible, using real guns with training "detergent bullets" that work like a paintball. They also have training mechanisms in the guns to assure no real rounds are fired, but it's far from a game, he said.
"When it hits you, you know it," he said. "It's going to sting like a bee sting."
Officers played both the shooter and first responder roles, with volunteers playing frantic bystanders and injured people along the way. They say the goal was to truly feel the chaos that would take place in a real active-shooter event.
They also went through multiple scenarios, from student shooters to terrorists with many of the scenarios modeled after actual shootings to ensure realism.
"This type of training is crucial," Corinth Capt. Greg Wilkerson said. "Our department tries to train on an annual basis to cover active-shooter situations should we have an incident arise in our area."
Wilkerson said it is something that has changed a lot in his 21 years as an officer. The increase in school shooting events has forced them to be more active in their approach.
The officers said they are thankful school districts such as Lake Dallas allow them to train in schools and regularly patrol the buildings so they know the layouts and scenarios if something were to happen.
"For these officers, it will amp them up and allow for them to respond in a way that ... we should," Gregg said.