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The Viewfinder: Officers train shooting in the dark

 

VIDALIA — Before Tuesday’s active shooter drill at the Vidalia Riverfront, the Concordia Parish Special Operations Group began working on SWAT training at 8 a.m. and continued into the night practicing firearms training.

“We require them to train a couple times a month,” said David Hedrick, Concordia Parish chief deputy. “An officer using a weapon is the last thing we ever want to happen, but for the public’s safety and the officer’s safety, we ensure they are very proficient with their firearms.”

The special operations group is mainly used for barricaded subjects or for serving high-risk warrants and emergency situations such as an active shooter.

With a recent rise in active-shooter situations law enforcement has changed its tactics, Hedrick said.

“The old way of doing it is the officers used to surround the house and wait for special operations group to get there,” Hedrick said. “What we do now, if there is an active shooter they immediately go straight to the threat and engage the threat to minimize casualties.”

The special operations group has also offered churches, businesses and schools, classes on how to enhance their security and how to develop a plan of action in the case of an active shooter.

“Typically, in the nation, those are the areas that are targeted, because they are soft targets,” Hedrick said, “because they don’t have ways of defending themselves. We want them to have other options than to do nothing.”

They have also developed plans for dealing with first-aid needs and putting out fires.The public is encouraged to attend classes provided by the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, and details will be listed in local newspapers and the sheriff’s office’s social media pages, Hedrick said.

“It’s our job to protect the public, and we strive to do that on a daily basis,” Hedrick said. “And even in the worst-case scenarios we want to be prepared.”

According to the most recent report of FBI statistics, 250 active shooter incidents occurred in the United States from 2000 to 2017 with a total of 2,217 casualties, including killed or wounded (casualty count does not include shooter).

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