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Utah County Sheriff’s Department trains teachers for active shooting situations

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

UTAH COUNTY — Utah County teachers have joined with the Utah County Sheriff’s department to better prepare for the possibility of an active shooter at school.

In a program called Teacher’s Academy, the Utah County Sheriff’s Department trains teachers to shoot firearms and give first aid to students that have been shot.

Sgt. Spencer Canon said the teachers are also learning about search and seizure laws and when to run, hide or fight. He said the goal isn’t to have teachers replace law enforcement— rather it is to help them protect themselves and their students.

“We don’t want them to be chasing the bad guy down the hallway,” Canon said, “but we want them to have some ideas about ‘just what can I do in order to better be prepared.’”

Canon said police aren’t encouraging all teachers to be armed. But for those who may choose to conceal carry, the program offers tips on how to do so correctly.

“In Utah where the law allows teachers and other school staff to be armed inside the schools, we want them to be a little bit better prepared,” said Canon.

Concerns have been raised about how officers will distinguish armed teachers from active shooters. Canon said that, during the training, police tell teachers to put their weapon down and identify themselves if an officer comes to their classroom.

The program is open to anyone that’s employed by the Utah County school district and who might encounter an active shooter. School administrators, secretaries, janitors and bus drivers have all enrolled in the training.

The course is run by the Utah County Sheriff’s department and is six weeks long. School employees take it on their own time and so far 90 people have attended two courses.