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Training pays big dividends

Violent acts like the shootings that took so many lives in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., are beyond frightening, so much so that we may be tempted to turn away from news reports and focus our attention on other, happier subjects.

But we cannot ignore the cold, hard facts — there is no way to predict when and if such incidents will occur. Whether we want to admit it or not, the tragedies that have struck Aurora, Newtown and other communities could happen here.

No one knows that better than law enforcement officers, those brave individuals who put their lives on the line every day to protect the rest of us and our families. As our first line of defense, these men and women understand the realities of today’s society all too well, and they know that it pays to be prepared.

For them, there is no choice — they cannot change the television channel or switch off the computer when reports of violence are broadcast. They must study and train so they will be ready if trouble strikes here.

About 40 officers from the Corinth, Lake Dallas and Hickory Creek police departments should now be better prepared to deal with the threat of a sudden violence, thanks to a recent joint training opportunity that allowed them to practice active shooter training techniques.

“It’s normally a training session we try to hold annually, but we haven’t the past couple of years,” Corinth police Lt. Jimmie Gregg said. “Because of all these recent mass shootings, it’s necessary we are prepared for the worst.”

The training, led by Corinth police, was held at Lake Dallas Middle School while students were on spring break. The training was a combination of classroom and “active” time.

While the middle school was ideal for re-enacting a school shooting, the daily groups were able to cross-train in negotiations, learn how to deal with a barricaded person and handle other scenarios agencies might encounter.

Officers trained with 9 mm Glocks and AR-15s loaded with Simunition rounds, which are widely used in training because they can be fired from a standard weapon using the proper conversion lock and bolt. The nonlethal bullets leave a detergent-based, watercolor mark for visibility assessment.

Volunteers from Corinth’s Citizens on Patrol were on hand to play the parts of villains, and other friends and family members of the officers assisted.

“It was a good opportunity for members of the community to actually get a firsthand look into what it is law enforcement comes face to face with,” Gregg said.

We commend those involved in this realistic training. The lessons taught should help make our communities more secure, and the updated training techniques could also help keep our officers safer as they go about their daily duties.

We encourage other departments to consider similar programs if such lessons are not already a part of their training plans. It’s unfortunate that such training is necessary, but as Lt. Gregg told us, it pays to be prepared for the worst.

We also send our thanks to the Lake Dallas and Denton school districts for helping to make the training possible. Hopefully, the lessons learned will never have to be applied in a real-life situation.