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Training keeps area officers sharp
Police swarmed the Risley Annex building Monday.

It was not an emergency, though. Officers were only training for one.

Georgia State Patrol troopers, Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance officers and Glynn County school resource officers will be using the partially vacant building through Thursday to train in case a gunman ever enters one of the county's schools or office buildings.

School System Police Chief Rod Ellis said Monday the recently renovated Risley Annex, which has been partially vacant since the end of last school year after Risley Early College Academy was closed, was a perfect venue for the statewide training initiative.

"When the command staff of state patrol approached me, it was the first thing that popped into my mind - let's utilize this building while it's not being used," Ellis said.

After this week, the school system's officers will have trained with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, city and county police, the sheriff's office and the state patrol, Ellis said.

"It is really nice to train next to people who would actually be responding with you. It's a big help, because you get to know them and their tactics," he said.

Josh Lamb, a firearms instructor for Georgia State Patrol, said he and other instructors would be training nearly 30 officers a day at the Risley Annex.

"We're training them on how to react if they ever had an active shooter in a school or business," Lamb said. "We try to prepare them in case they ever have to respond."

Small teams of up to six officers from various agencies armed with airsoft guns checked hallways Thursday, communicating in short, direct sentences -- all the while looking out for the bad guys.

"We are taking small teams and training them in team tactics. We are trying to teach tactics that they can use if there's two, four or six of them," Lamb said. "This is a multi-agency effort, because if something like this ever happened, it would likely be a number of agencies to respond to it."

Airsoft pistols, which propel small, plastic pellets as ammunition, are used because they are the next best thing to live fire.

"When you're using airsoft, you get a little bit of sound and a little bit of sting when you screw up," Lamb said.

Chief Ellis said he appreciated the opportunity to train with the patrol.

"You pray it never happens, but you have to be prepared for the eventuality that it does," Ellis said. "For years and years, when I was coming up as an officer, you were conditioned to wait for the (Special Weapons and Tactics) team for something like this. But nowadays, you just don't have time for that."

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