A husband and wife team worked behind the scenes to set up a training exercise Wednesday for the Denton County Sheriff’s Office and Harpool Middle School in Lantana.
Sgt. Bryan Wilkinson, who leads the sheriff’s SWAT team, and his wife, Kady, a student resource officer at the campus, organized the training scenario where two “bad” guys or shooters would enter the campus at 9601 Stacee Lane around 9 a.m. while teachers were training for the start of a new school year. Several students volunteered as victims in the scenario, which helped both staff and deputies train for what is called an “active shooter” situation.
The training, which lasted about 47 minutes, included 10 SWAT members, several dispatchers, the school resource officer, two deputies acting as the shooters and Wilkinson.
“I set it up where there were multiple obstacles,” he said, adding that he wanted his team to figure out how to overcome the many “real life” situations that can occur. The teachers were taken through the steps of notifying law enforcement, initiating lockdown inside the campus and awaiting assistance from deputies to evacuate the campus.
In the training, Wilkinson included the idea of having fake improvised explosive devices set up at several locations within the school, which trained the SWAT team members to look for different routes to check and clear the campus.
Through his wife’s tenure as the student resource officer at the Lantana campus since it opened and her connections with the former and current principals, Wilkinson said the sheriff’s office has been able to conduct ongoing training at the campus.
“It’s been a good working relationship,” he said.
Following the training, SWAT members met with the staff to gain feedback and discuss any aspects of the scenario.
“I want to make sure the sheriff’s office is always ready to respond to situations such as these, and we will do our best to protect our kids, so they can be safe in our communities,” Sheriff Will Travis said in a news release.