A total of eight area agencies took part in an active shooter training exercise Monday morning at Smith-Cotton High School, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd.

Motorists driving past the high school around that time may have noticed dozens of emergency vehicles with lights flashing staged on the lot, but there was no cause for alarm.

A few muffled sounds from blanks being fired could be heard at the start of the exercise around 10 a.m., followed by a rapid response from Sedalia Police, the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Sedalia Fire Department, Pettis County Ambulance District, Pettis County Fire District, and Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency.

Participating units staged in the parking lot of Sutherland's just prior to the drill.

S-C school resource officer Sgt. John Cline said a total of 35 staff members from Sedalia School District 200 were serving as volunteers for the event as crisis actors and role players.

Sgt. Cline said one of the goals involved in the fictitious active shooter event is to "bring together the different disciplines of public safety together and test process, plans and procedures in case the worst should happen."

According to k12academics.com, from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the United States saw a sharp increase in guns and gun violence in the schools.

According to a survey conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health "15 percent said that they had carried a handgun on their person in the past 30 days, and four percent said that they had taken a handgun to school in the past year," a sharp increase from just five years earlier.

By 1993, the United States saw some of the most violent times in school shooting incidences.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 1998-1999 School Year, 3,523 Students (57 percent High School, 33 percent Junior High, 10 percent Elementary) were expelled for bringing a firearm to school.

The late 1990s started to see a major reduction in gun-related school violence, but was still plagued with multiple-victim shootings, the site said.

Since 2013, there have been over 305 incidents in which a gun was discharged on a school campus in America, according to Everytown.

Cline said such an event happening right here in Sedalia was "low probability but high impact."

The training exercise was the next logical step in a multi-disciplinary tabletop session that was held April 4.

About 50 emergency responders took part in Monday's training exercise. There was a minimum of 10 law enforcement personnel, which included line officers and administration. Nearly 25 Fire Department personal were involved and over 20 medical personnel, according to Cline.

The S-C Theater Department applied makeup to the crisis actors to help simulate injuries. He added the volunteers had a specific role and then, "it will be the responsibility of public safety entities to come in and address the situation," describing it as the formation of a rescue task force. Students did not participate in the exercise, other than to help apply make-up beforehand, Sgt. Cline emphasized.

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