Sapulpa Police Train To Confront School Intruders

Wednesday, October 18th 2006, 5:27 pm
By: News On 6

The recent rash of school violence has prompted educators and lawmen to brush-up on their security plans.

Several Green Country officers took advantage of fall break in Sapulpa to learn how to better protect students.

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler says Sapulpa Police give this 3-day seminar every year.

It's a method they learned from Tulsa Police several years ago, a method developed after a painful lesson in Littleton, Colorado.

The Columbine massacre lasted nearly an hour. Two gunmen killed 12 people and injured 22 more within 16 minutes.

Seven years later, we're still learning from it. Sapulpa police are teaching these officers the Hall Boss method to deal with armed intruders as quickly as possible.

"Obviously there's gonna be a lot of chaos, with students running around, sprinkler systems, maybe fire alarms, things like that. And hopefully this will train and prepare you to block those things out to go forward."

Dozens of officers from about ten different agencies are taking part in today's activities. Even the smallest communities know how important it is to take steps to protect students.

Mannford Police Chief James Hillis says living in a rural town doesn't guarantee safety.

"That's what they thought in several of the schools throughout the country," says Hillis.

Many of these officers are from rural communities where school security is just as important as it is in any city.

Pete Sellers is in charge of security at Sapulpa's nine public schools. He says the district has invested thousands of dollars in security cameras and monitors.. to watch over halls and entrances.

"We all have young people and we want them to grow up and be in a safe environment," Sellers says.

The painful lessons from the past are teaching a new generation of officers how to keep students safe.

We were not allowed to shoot many of the tactical exercises so prospective intruders won't know what to anticipate.

Sapulpa Police say they've had this seminar planned for months. After the recent school shootings and calls from several area departments, they decided to move it up.