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Forsyth County Sheriffs Office offers active shooter response training

FORSYTH COUNTY — Law enforcement personnel in Forsyth County are offering training sessions for how residents should handle an active shooter event.

At residents’ request, the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, or CRASE, class can be taught at a business, church, civic group or educational institution.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Watson said he and two other deputies underwent training to learn how to teach the free class after seeing a need in the community.

In the class, participants learn “what to do in the case of an active shooter event from a civilian standpoint and what to expect when law enforcement arrives to a situation like that,” Watson said.

After the hour-long presentation, the deputies hold a question-and-answer session.

“It empowers them to have the confidence they need if they’re ever caught in a situation where, hopefully, they’ll make the right decisions to stay safe and keep others safe as well,” Watson said.

Though it is the hope that residents won’t have to use such knowledge, an active shooter event in downtown Cumming remains in many residents’ minds.

In June 2014, a heavily armed 48-year-old man attempted to shoot his way inside what was then the courthouse on the Cumming square.

The deputy who was the first on the scene was wounded in the leg but was credited for stopping his advance before backup units arrived.

Watson said attendees will hear statistics about active shooters, the types of situations they may find, the mind frame of a shooter and situational awareness.

Included in what to expect when law enforcement arrives, they will be taught how to distinguish themselves from the shooter.

“We’re still working on getting a large enough location to accommodate all the requests we have,” Watson said.

To date, the agency has received more than 100 emails and 50 phone calls asking about the class. The requests usually are for two or more people.

“It’s something that is basic enough that you can take it back and teach it to other family members,” Watson said.

For more information or to request a class, email or call Watson at (770) 205-4588.