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ARMED INTRUDER TRAINING

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The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Services Division has been conducting instructional workshops for County Employees on things they can do if they are ever confronted with an armed intruder situation.  The workshops are based on the ALICE program.  The ALICE program teaches potential victims to make themselves harder to target — and that includes ways to fight back. ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

though your first thought about an armed intruder in a school or workplace may be, "That would never happen here in Anderson County," the reality of the matter is that these types of incidents can happen anywhere and at any time, including right here in Anderson County.  And if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in the same place as an armed intruder, whether you're at work or in a school, it's best to be prepared.  If you can run away reasonably safely, that should always be your first move.  If not, you need to hide and barricade yourself. And if you come face to face with a shooter, then you will need to fight for your life.  That’s the purpose of these workshops, to give options to our county employees.

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County employees that have taken this training have found it to be helpful, and enlightening, with many seeing the benefit of expanding this type of program throughout the community.   As a part of the program, important first aid basics are also taught.

These training sessions will be on-going, with the goal of reaching every Anderson County Employee.  According to Anderson County Emergency Services Director, Taylor Jones, “Our goal is not just to make this type of training available to our county employees, but to develop a culture in Anderson County of being prepared to take action and to not to simply be a passive victim.”  Similar programs will be developed by the Emergency Services Division for schools, businesses and even houses of worship in Anderson County.

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According to Sheriff John Skipper “The reality is that Law Enforcement cannot be at all places, all of the time.  When something tragic, like a school or workplace shooting occurs, citizens need to be prepared to take necessary action to defend themselves in those minutes that Law Enforcement is on the way.”  Additional information about these training programs can be found at the Emergency Services Division Website, http://andersoncountyes.com

We are often asked why the Sheriff’s Office Detention Center doesn’t operate an inmate “chain gang”. Chain gangs are a group of sentenced prisoners chained together who perform manual labor such as digging ditches, building roads, planting crops, or clearing debris. The use of chain gangs was phased out nationwide by the mid 1950’s and made a short lived resurgence in the mid 1990’s during the “tough on crime” era.
inmate_labor4.jpgThe majorities (approximately 85%) of inmates housed by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center are pre-trial detainees and cannot be used on a labor detail until convicted of a crime. Pre-trial inmates are expected to clean their individual housing units and maintain a level of personal hygiene. Although you won’t travel down the roadway and see a group of inmates chained together working, inmate labor is still widely used in Anderson County every day.  This inmate labor saves the taxpayers of Anderson County hundreds of thousands of dollars per year In fact, in an average month, there are roughly 9000 man hours of inmate labor performed in Anderson County, that if based on minimum wage, comes to over $783,000 annually in savings.
inmate_labor_3.jpgDuring those hours, inmates clean miles of roadway picking up trash and debris. Within the Detention Center, they cook and serve almost 35,000 meals per month and clean the dishes and kitchen. They wash patrol vehicles, and do hundreds of loads of laundry. Additionally, they assist with maintenance issues, clean inmate dorms, and mop and wax floors. They cut the grass and maintain the grounds at the Detention Center and at the Sheriff’s Office. Outside the facility, they work with various county work crews and at the Convenience Recycling Stations and landfill.
inmate_labor2.jpgAs a general rule, inmates receive a reduction in the sentences they receive for both good behavior and by working. Should the inmate fail to follow the rules or refuse to work, this reduction would be revoked. Good time and work credits are statutorily granted upon the inmate following the requirements and are not discretionary. Note – Inmates assigned to work crews outside the confines of the facility have been screened by the Classification Unit and must meet certain minimum security criteria. Inmates who have a history of violence or registered sex offenders are utilized only inside the detention facility.          
Could it happen here?
Recent events in Connecticut are a reminder to us all of how tragic events can change our perspective.  The loss of life was devastating to the community of Newtown, CT, as well as to the nation when we heard the news that 20 people, including 18 school students, had been shot and killed by a lone gunman that forced his way into the Sandy Hook elementary school.
shooting2.jpgOften times when, these events occur, many assume it can’t happen here.   The reality is events like Newtown Connecticut, though rare, can happen anywhere.   Since 1996 communities like Pearl, MS, West Paducah, KY, Jonesboro, AR, Edinboro, PA, Richmond, VA, Littleton, CO, Conyers, GA, Red Lion, PA, Red Lake, MN, Nickel Mines, PA, DeKalb, IL, and Omaha, NE have experienced similar events.  These are just a small sample of communities in our nation that have gone through such horrors.
columbine.jpgAll of us hope that something like this will never occur in Anderson County, but if it did, how would we respond?  At the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office we take the potential of such incidents seriously, and regularly train our officers and special teams in how to effectively respond if something like what occurred in Newtown, CT occurred in our county.
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The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Division works on a regular basis to plan for such situations as an active shooter in a school.  Special teams, including the SWAT team, train on various scenarios.  

Training exercises are held in cooperation with the various school districts in the county to provide a “real world” experience to better equip those officers that may have to someday respond to such a tragic event.

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