VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office held its first 2019 active threat training course for courthouse employees Friday afternoon.
“Unfortunately these active threat situations are becoming more and more common, so we want the people in VB who we can reach and train to be empowered and able to react if they are in one of these situations,” said Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Kathy Hieatt.
Hieatt says they began offering the courses in 2016, and before this the most recent one was last year.
“Now that we’re in 2019, we are offering some refresher courses, in part because of what occurred on May 31, to give people a renewed sense of empowerment and tools to respond in the event of an active threat situation,” she explained.
Hieatt says the five refreshers, for 25 employees each, filled up extremely fast. They’re broken up into two parts, an hour of classroom training, and an hour of practical training.
Those who attend learn everything from evacuating, to barricading and counter measures.
“I think what happened on May 31 certainly is still fresh on everyone’s minds here you may remember the initial report came out that the incident was occurring here at the courthouse, which didn’t turn out to be correct, but the courthouse was on lockdown and obviously people were frightened,” Hieatt said.
When that happened, Hieatt says people who had previously taken the course were able to use what they learned.
“There were individuals and supervisors here who had gone through the training and were able to use the training they were able to take their staff and barricade them in a safe place and they were thinking about the different strategies they learned in the training,” she explained.
There are a handful more training classes through December that are full, but they will do this on a consistent basis next year as well.
Also if staffing allows, they do requested training for local businesses as well.