Panicked students sprint through the school hallway. There’s an active shooter in the building. With his gun drawn, school resource officer Josh Vacha slowly walks toward a body on the carpeted floor. He spots the back of an adult man in a green polo shirt and khaki pants standing in a classroom doorway. “Show me your hands, show me your hands,” Vacha shouts to the man.
He doesn’t respond. “Turn around now and show me your hands,” Vacha demands again. The man turns and drops to a knee. He raises a gun and points it at Vacha. Vacha shoots, hitting the man in the forehead. The man falls to the ground as blood splatters the wall behind him. Then, the screen flashes to black. The training session has ended. The lifelike scenario was a simulation to help Vacha and other school resource officers prepare for an active school shooter. “It’s intense,” said Vacha, a deputy for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office and school resource officer for the Plain Local School District. “Even though I didn’t move a whole lot, you still get short of breath a little just because of the adrenaline rush. You don’t know what’s going to happen, he could turn around and not have a gun, you don’t know.” Stark County school resource officers have been training since last fall on the new MILO Range Pro Single Screen simulator to learn how to effectively respond to a wide range of scenarios, including when an active shooter is present in a school or a bomb threat. School employees also are using the simulator to learn how to deescalate a situation, such as when a student is threatening suicide. [full article]