On Wednesday, February 19, 2014, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office participated in training exercise near Fort White High School conducted by County Emergency Management.
The purpose of the exercise was to train and evaluate first responders by using a realistic scenario which enabled agencies to work together. Some of the agencies involved were the Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Fire Rescue, Lifeguard EMS, and Columbia County School Board.
The scenario was that an angry parent caused a bus crash with his vehicle and then entered the bus to remove his child. During the removal of the child, the man shot and killed the bus driver and fled on foot with the child.
Rescue units and deputies arrived at the scene and began caring for the injured and investigating the incident. Almost immediately, the on scene personnel had to deal with several concerned parents that were arriving to check on their children. As the scenario played out, the scene was calmed and additional resources arrived.
The injured were treated and deputies began looking for the suspect and the missing child. K9 deputies arrived and began tracking the suspect who had fled into the woods. The conclusion of the exercise was when the K9 deputies successfully located the suspect and took him into custody and rescued the child.
The Sheriff’s Office had 11 deputies and two K9 teams actively involved in the scenario while trainers and command staff observed and evaluated. A special thanks to the many volunteers who acted as role players, adding realism to the exercise.