Dozens of Hillsborough school resource deputies take part in active shooter training


Author: Eric Glasser

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is offering an inside look at some of the very realistic scenarios that school resource deputies are going through this week.

It’s all part of intense training exercises aimed at keeping our kids safe from the unthinkable.

Dave Carter’s son, Jax, is about to enter the second grade.

And like other parents, he says these days, safety is a top priority. This is why Carter was glad to hear that just down the road from Jax’s little league game, Hillsborough County School Resource Deputies were inside Steinbrenner High School undergoing intense training taking place all this week at several campuses throughout the district.

“When you see it on TV, I mean you don’t expect it to happen at home, but you never know,” Carter said.

“And the more prepared - the more appropriate response, God forbid the unthinkable happens at a school here in Hillsborough County,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

Chronister says this sort of training is as important as ever – involving realistic scenarios that include intruders, active shooters, medical response and communication. This year, they added the stress of a bomb on campus.

They also stress the importance of not standing by and waiting - as was the case in Columbine, Uvalde and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings.

“If there’s something going on, I would want them to attack the situation and end it as quickly as possible, to be honest with you,” said Carter.

Chronister says that’s the plan.

“You are family to them, and they'll do whatever it takes, even if it means sacrificing their own life to keep you safe,” the sheriff said.

Chronister says something new this year is his agency’s access to on-campus cameras to help them see potential dangers before they even arrive on-scene.

He also asks all parents to have a conversation with their children – urging them not to make threats of violence and to report anything they feel might be dangerous or suspicious.

The sheriff also addressed training, specifically regarding new rules that were signed into law earlier this week by Gov. Ron DeSantis requiring all doors, hallways and gates to be locked during classroom hours.

“One of the scenarios here today is that they have to carry a special apparatus that if they come up on that lock door, maybe it's a locked door with an assailant in it or whatever scenario they have to be able to breach that door,” Chronister said.

It’s 40 hours of training no one hopes they'll ever need to use.

“The way social media is, the kids see this stuff and it could pop up anywhere these days,” Carter said. “And for them to be ready is real important.”

“I hate the fact that we have to lock doors. I hate the fact that the children are exposed to trauma, even going through the training, but at the end of the day, their life depends on it,” Chronister said. “We're willing to do whatever it takes.”