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Augusta Technical College police officers conduct active shooter training


Friday, Aug 8, 2014 5:09 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 9, 2014 1:21 AM
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It was a statement Augusta Technical College faculty said they never expected to hear: “An armed intruder is on campus.”

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Augusta Technical College Police Chief Mike Anchor, left, and officer Jerri Jennings-Joly search a building for a mock gunman during active shooter training.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Augusta Technical College Police Chief Mike Anchor, left, and officer Jerri Jennings-Joly search a building for a mock gunman during active shooter training.

Moments after the announcement crackled over the intercom at the school’s Emergency Services Training Center, professors barked orders to students, doors slammed shut and the lights went out.

Outside the building off Lumpkin Road, a man brandishing a handgun paced the sidewalk looking for an entrance. Once inside, he tried the door handles leading to classrooms, reacting angrily when no one would let him in.

Suddenly, Augusta Tech’s Chief of Police Mike Anchor burst through the building’s front door, but he didn’t bother to reach for his sidearm.

“Scenario is over,” he yelled, and several volunteers emerged from their classrooms. The “intruder” placed the blue dummy handgun back into his pocket. Anchor said he was pleased with what he had seen.

For the first time Friday, Augusta Tech underwent several scenarios to train its four-person police force, as well as faculty and students, to cope with an armed intruder on campus.

“These types of events can happen anywhere,” Anchor said. “We need to make sure the faculty and staff are as prepared as they can be in the event that something like this happens, because if something does happen, it’s going to be mass chaos. We want to make sure our people are in control.”

After several hours of refresher classes, the officers tested scenarios to gauge how prepared they were to respond under pressure. Milder scenarios required faculty and staff to execute hard lockdowns, while more involved scenarios required all four officers in tactical formations sweeping the building’s interior.

One scenario required officers to talk down the armed intruder and take him into custody. Both the officers and the intruder were armed with plastic guns.

“Hopefully, it will never happen,” Anchor said about the scenarios. “Unfortunately, in our day and time, it is a real possibility. We want to make sure that our people are prepared to protect themselves and protect students until we can respond.”

The May 5 shooting of a student on the campus of Paine College was reason enough to conduct the exercise, said Brian Roberts, the director of student activities and public relations at Augusta Tech. He said the training emphasizes the importance of student safety in an educational environment.

“Holistically, this just fits right in,” he said. “We will do what we can, within our control, to be able to provide a safe campus for them to study at and achieve their goals.”

Anchor said he hopes to continue the event each year and eventually expand it to include sheriff’s offices in the counties where Augusta Tech has satellite campuses.

“From the law enforcement perspective, you can never be too prepared,” he said.


House Bill 3560 was signed into law by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on May 13, 2013, effectively creating a clearinghouse for information on people who have been found mentally incompetent by a court.

The law is intended to keep firearms out of the hands of those mentally incapable, but some don’t think it’s getting the job done. Read more, Metro/1B.

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jimmymac 08/09/14 - 11:29 am

It's always wise to plan for every potential treat that could happen. They're to be commended for planning ahead. Hopefully they'll never see that kind of event happen on that campus again.

rmodel65 08/09/14 - 01:22 pm
Hopefully they also got

Hopefully they also got training on the new HB826 law that is current law in Georgia. It allows people who are licensed to carry on campus legally and not when just picking up or dropping off students. It added licensed holder to the list of people to whom school zones no longer apply

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