Orange County deputies use simulator to train for active shooter situations

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — In the wake of recent mass shootings, including the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Channel 9 got a firsthand look at the kind of training the Orange County Sheriff’s Office does to prepare its deputies.

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The training includes a simulator that helps deputies respond to possible active shooter scenarios they could encounter.

Every Orange County deputy goes through the training while in the academy, and continue through their time on the job in the sheriff’s office.

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Deputies shared a scenario with Channel 9 reporter Jeff Deal on Friday where a deputy who is all alone must enter a school with active shooters.

This is just one of around 200 scenarios deputies could face in a 300-degree simulator that immerses them into the surroundings.

Photos: Orange County deputies use simulator to train for active shooter situations

Deputies must be prepared to go in alone to take out the shooters.

“That’s great if two deputies are there at the same time, but if a shooting is happening in that classroom, they’re not waiting, they’re going right in to stop the threat,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

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Mina said that is the department philosophy and that is what they prepare for.

Under normal circumstances deputy safety takes priority, but in active shooter situations the priorities change.

“The safety priorities in this situation are the hostages,” said Lt. Chris Gunn, Orange County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team assistant commander. “Other innocents, and then law enforcement safety.”

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The simulator is just one part of the training--deputies do drills at schools and with the SWAT team.

Deputies know when they go into an active shooter situation, they are putting their lives on the line.

Deputies also have an “active shooter kit” in a safe at schools in the county that includes an extra vest, helmet and weapons.

See more in the video above.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.