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Hundreds of Georgia school resource officers train to handle violence

In June, the state's criminal justice coordinating council awarded $2.6 million from a state grant program to the training center.

FORSYTH, Ga. — After Governor Brian Kemp said safety measures are at the forefront for the state of Georgia, hundreds of officers from across the state attended training in Forsyth this week. 

Annually, school resource officers from across the state come to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) for courses.

"We've got sheriff's offices, police departments, and of course, school police departments," GPSTC supervisor Danielle Rosa said. 

Danielle Rosa runs the class, teaching law enforcement about things that could happen on school campuses.

"We also look at the behavioral piece in the school setting, so we encourage our SROs to work with their counselors, their principals, any mental health specialists that are in the schools to make sure we actually track these kids to see what they’re dealing with, what's going on," the supervisor explained.

After a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Governor Brian Kemp said the state would work to get officers trained for school violence.

In addition to teaching communication styles and intervention and prevention, the training center in Forsyth also preps officers for active shooters.

"The scenarios they run down there are very wide in variety and they require a response, whether it’s a single officer all the way up to a team of 5 officers," Rosa explained. 

Down at the active shooter site, the officers learn best techniques and run drills in groups. 

Rick Carter, a resource officer in a Madison County elementary school, talked about why the course was helpful.

"Obviously, my first priority is safety, but I think a very close runner-up to that is the relationship you build with kids at a young age," Carter said. 

Instructor Jose Ramirez says the course covers other topics like the gang resistance education training.

"It's a program about life skills, not necessarily about just emphasizing on gangs, but making proper decisions in life that will prevent somebody from joining a gang or participating in gang activity," Ramirez said. 

Rosa says the course has grown this year.

"Because of the events in Uvalde, we were able to make sure we made more room for students both SROs and local law enforcement personnel who wanted to take those classes," Rosa said. 

Rosa says by the end of the course, she will have trained at least 400 officers.

In June, the state's criminal justice coordinating council awarded $2.6 million from a state grant program to the training center to enhance its resource-officer training.

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