Feature photo, Allison Verman from Strategos prepares participants for hands-on active intruder response training at MMA.
Educators and other professionals from approximately 15 safety, security and emergency response organizations and schools from Audrain County and across the state gathered at Missouri Military Academy (MMA) on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, to take part in active shooter and intruder response training, hosted by the Academy and conducted by South Western Communications (SWC), who holds nearly 50 years of experience in supporting security and safety solutions for K-12 schools.
MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret), spoke of the high need for such training for all involved in protecting our schools.
“This training is critical,” Geraci said, who had participated in such training before. “Our primary responsibility is to keep our high school and middle school cadets safe, and we must always be ready for any situation that might arise. MMA’s location, campus and facilities are the perfect place to conduct this type of training on a regular basis.”
President Geraci welcomes educators and other partners from safety, security and emergency response organizations to the Sept. 21, 2022 training.
Hosting the event on MMA’s campus and participating in the training with other schools and organizations creates mutually beneficial relationships, according to Geraci.
“Regular training fosters the positive and proactive relationships needed between educators, the community and law enforcement agencies to best protect our children,” said Geraci. “We want this training to help prepare our people to avoid and deter incidents and, when needed, respond quickly and definitively.”
The training brought together resources from SWC and Strategos International, who works worldwide to offer training, consulting and security solutions for corporate, government, school, faith-based, law enforcement and military professionals.
“Educators and law enforcement are in this together. You have to consider how you will impact your community with this training,” Strategos’ Allison Verman said in an opening address to the group, emphasizing the importance of what they would learn.
The training included morning classes that covered active shooter and active intruder response, the psychology of an active intruder, verbal de-escalation and conflict resolution techniques and more. In the afternoon, participants took part in hands-on classroom lockdown skills and active shooter scenarios, utilizing MMA’s facilities on its 288-acre campus to enact situations for which school, safety and security personnel must prepare.
St. Joseph School District school resource officer Joe Herrera works to secure a door in the hands-on training. Participants learned classroom lockdown skills and enacted active shooter scenarios.
“Everyone needs to understand that you never know where things are going to happen. We have a responsibility to be prepared to respond,” said SWC Vice President of Sales Ivan Cagle. “(Training at MMA) allows us to bring together a large group of diverse people to gain knowledge and see how live events might play out on a real school campus. Those scenarios are a critical piece of what we are trying to accomplish with this training.”
In addition to MMA, participating organizations included the Audrain County Ambulance District, Mexico Police Department, Audrain County Emergency Management, Audrain Ambulance District, St. Brendan Catholic School, Fulton Public Schools, North Callaway R-1 School District, St. Joseph School District, Marshall Public Schools, Hickman Mills School District, Super Start Preschool for SRS, Sedalia School District, Miller County R-3 School District, Wellington-Napoleon R-IX School District, Steelville R-3 School District, and Sunnydale Adventist Academy.