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Volunteers offer unique perspective in active shooter drills

Volunteers play a vital role in the drills, making it as real as possible for those learning...
Volunteers play a vital role in the drills, making it as real as possible for those learning the ropes.(Source: KARK-TV)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 7:55 PM CDT
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BENTON, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) – Thursday marked day four of Saline County’s active shooter drills, and while law enforcement is often thought of as the ones who tackle emergencies head-on, there’s another face many forget about.

Volunteers play a vital role in the drills, making it as real as possible for those learning the ropes.

According to content partner KARK, the “role players” as they’re referred to offer a different perspective: Those caught in the crossfire, bystanders running away, and even the shooters themselves.

One of those participating was church administrator John Gathright, who also oversees his church security team.

He said not only was this a way to give back to the Benton Police Department, but it was also a way to learn what to do in case of an emergency.

“The information and what you glean from this is invaluable,” Gathright said.

Over the days, he had been assigned all types of injuries to recreate, including chest wounds, shotgun injuries, minor scrapes, and bruises.

Gathright told KARK volunteers also got a new appreciation for those who serve and could possibly face a real active shooter at a moment’s notice.

“Their passion,” he said, “you don’t pick that up necessarily unless you’re here. They want to get it right because they know, at some point in time, they have to get it right.”

In addition to civilians, KARK said off-duty officers and those familiar with the departments also spent time on the ground, with a few who even did the training one day and then played victim another.

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