Weekend deadly shootings in El Paso, Dayton underscore importance of Lafayette training
Law enforcement in Lafayette saw this weekend's deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio as a reminder about the importance of regular training for the public and police to prepare for active shooters.
"It's a reminder, but we're always conducting this kind of training to make sure we're prepared for whatever situation," Lafayette Parish Sheriff's spokesman Lt. John Mowell said Monday. "We learn a lot from past situations and study those. We incorporate what we learn wherever possible to stay on the cutting edge."
Within 24 hours, the two attacks, each by lone gunmen, in El Paso and Dayton left at least 31 people dead and more than 50 wounded.
The unrelated shootings led the Diocese of Lafayette to schedule a special mass of remembrance for those victims at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
Lafayette marked the four-year anniversary last month of its own mass shooting at the Grand 16 Theatre, where a gunman killed two people and injured nine others before killing himself.
When attacks like those in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, happen, the Lafayette Police Department takes note.
"We stay aware. The fact that we train yearly and stay up to date on our training shows that," said LPD spokeswoman Cpl. Bridgette Dugas. "This just kind of brings awareness that it can happen anywhere, which is why we keep up this training."
New police officers and Lafayette Parish deputies receive active shooter training in the academy and are offered ongoing training opportunities by their agencies, Mowell said. The sheriff's office holds "robust" active shooter training throughout the year, he added.
In addition to keeping its own staff trained, the sheriff's office offers active shooting training for parish residents. It has conducted training with businesses, schools and media companies.
During the summer, deputies train at schools, where they have the added bonus of becoming familiar with those surroundings. The Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office also is holding active shooter training at its schools in the weeks before students return.
The Lafayette Police Department does the same. It's holding active shooter training at schools for its student resource officers this week.
The department also trains officers when they're hired. It offers yearly training to make sure responders know what to do in an active shooter situation.
Anyone who thinks there is a threat to the community should call 911. Tips also can be reported on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office app or the Student Protect app.
Contact Ashley White at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AshleyyDi.