Old career center hosts PCSO training exercise

PICKENS — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office recently conducted rapid response/active shooter training for all patrol personnel and school resource officers.
February 22 and 23, the old B.J. Skelton Career Center was again a hub of activity as off-duty sheriff’s deputies flooded the hallways and classrooms in search of SWAT team members playing the roles of gunmen.
The training program, developed by the National Tactical Officers Association in conjunction with Texas State University, prepares law enforcement officers to respond to and effectively deal with what is essentially a nightmare scenario… an armed gunman intent on hurting others in a school or work environment.
“As the lesson of the Columbine school shooting dictates, one cannot wait on the arrival of a SWAT team in these circumstances,’ sheriff C. David Stone said. “The first arriving officers have to quickly develop a plan and deal with the threat. We want all of our personnel to be operating off the same playbook in case the unthinkable occurs in Pickens County.”
The sheriff’s office plans to offer this training to members of the S.C. Highway Patrol, S.C. Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, and other agencies in the future.
In regard to the effectiveness of the training itself, Sheriff Stone said, “There’s nothing better than being shot with a non-lethal round to make you focus on your technique. The beauty of this program is that it’s low cost, very effective, and translates well to situations which regularly confront our patrol officers.”