Henderson County News: 'We're not going to stand there and argue' if responding to active shooter, sheriff says

Henderson County News: ‘We’re not going to stand there and argue’ if responding to active shooter, sheriff says

‘We’re not going to stand there and argue’ if responding to active shooter, sheriff says

Sheriff Lowell Griffin told commissioners officers locally are well trained to respond to an active shooter threat in a school. [LIGHTNING FILE PHOTO]
Sheriff Lowell Griffin told commissioners officers locally are well trained to respond to an active shooter threat in a school. [LIGHTNING FILE PHOTO]

Henderson County’s response to an active shooter threat in a school would be immediate and forceful and not hindered by the kind of jurisdictional confusion and delay that’s now under scrutiny in Uvalde, Texas, Sheriff Lowell Griffin told county commissioners last week.

Griffin’s explanation of law officers’ training and response came as commissioners discussed and ultimately approved appropriating $234,938 to the city of Hendersonville to support the cost of school resource officers in the four county schools within the city limits. Responding to a question by Commissioner Michael Edney, Griffin said  having city officers and sheriff’s deputies respond to a school shooting would not create a conflict.

“Boots on the ground, working together, short answer, I don’t expect any hesitation whatsoever,” he said. “It’s not gonna matter. We’re not gonna stand there and argue over jurisdiction. It’s gonna be dealt with the way it needs to be dealt with immediately.”

Griffin pointed out that an active shooter threat would most likely take place during the day when law enforcement personnel is at its peak strength.

“These schools are county schools,” he said. “Should we have anything develop at any of the schools … that’s when our staff levels are going to be maximized. We’re going to have most of our investigators, administration, civil process and we are going to be responding in force to supplement the city regardless of where this school lies. It is a county school, so we are going to be there, we’re going to be in the middle of it. With that said, I have the utmost confidence with the city of Hendersonville to also respond appropriately.

“If we had some sort of event like this unspeakable event” in Texas, Laurel Park and Fletcher would be responding and “back-filling,” he said. “This week, I’m aware that the Highway Patrol locally has been practicing their response to an active shooter.”

After the high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado, the state adopted a common protocol on responding to an active shooter threat in schools so law officers “should all understand what the objective is and what the method is to make that approach” he said.

If there’s any liability, he said, it’s the dual 911 system that transfers city emergency calls to the city police dispatchers.

“But as far as the response itself, case in point, when we had the threat that caused us to evacuate the campus at North and Apple Valley, we had Hendersonville city police officers there,” he said.