School Staff Participate in Multi-Agency Active Shooter Training
More than 100 Ozark School District employees participated in a public safety active shooter training on July 27 at Ozark West Elementary. Planning for the multi-agency training event started in summer of 2021 and included Ozark Police Department, Christian County Sheriff’s Office, Ozark Fire Protection District, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Christian County Ambulance District, Christian County Emergency Services, Christian County Emergency Management Agency, and Ozark School District.
While all of these agencies train individually throughout the year, School Resource Police Captain Mark Deeds said it’s always good to find opportunities to join forces.
“This was a cooperative effort amidst multiple agencies within the county,” Deeds said. “We routinely have intruder drills and other emergency drills throughout the year, but we have to put all of this into play. And in the event of a school shooting, all of these entities that were here today would be responding.”
Ozark Police Chief Justin Arnold said more than 300 people participated in the training exercise, allowing participating agencies to take the small things they work on throughout the year, build upon them, and put them into practice in a real-life simulation.
“As law enforcement officers and public safety officials, a lot of what we do is train and practice for events that we hope never takes place,” Arnold said. “Obviously, violence at a school is something we hope we never have to deal with. However, we have to train, practice and rehearse to make sure that in the event we’re called to do something in response to violence at a school, that we’ve had training — that we’ve had real-life practice so we can do it to the best of our abilities.”
Ozark Superintendent Dr. Chris Bauman said participating in the training and seeing the response of emergency services helps the District develop better training for students and staff.
“Bringing all the entities together in the same exercise is such a powerful opportunity for us to be able to see the sights and sounds of an event like this,” Bauman said. “Being able to work with our school resource officers and local public safety agencies to help train our staff is invaluable for the safety of our children.”
The District plans to continue these multi-agency trainings every few years. The last multi-agency active shooter drill was in 2018 at Ozark High School; COVID prevented one in recent years. Students are not allowed to participate in the simulations, but they do participate in intruder drills throughout the school year.