Cullman County Sheriff’s Office hosts school safety training

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 7:29 PM CDT
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CULLMAN CO., Ala. (WBRC) - School safety is top of mind as kids in Alabama return to school in just a few short weeks.

That’s why the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office is taking proactive steps to keep everyone safe, hosting a school safety training.

Sheriff Matt Gentry enlisted the help of a world-renowned criminal profiler to speak at Tuesday’s training in hopes of preparing schools across the state for any safety situation.

“Nobody wants to talk about the bad stuff. We want to sweep it under the rug and never talk about it, but that’s not reality.”

Sheriff Gentry said he’s heartbroken that part of planning for the upcoming school year includes preparing for the worst.

“Every day, we get up and pray and we say, ‘Good Lord, please protect our children, protect our law enforcement, protect our communities,’ and it’s an evil that you hate to even talk about, but it’s something that we do need to talk about,” Sheriff Gentry said.

And he’s backing up his words with action—bringing in a criminal profiler to discuss uncomfortable topics like school shooting trends.

“Gone are the days when classroom doors are open. Not only should they all be locked, but the doors should be bullet resistant, the glass should be bullet resistant. It’s sad, and those are the days we’re in,” said Criminal Profiler, Phil Chalmers.

Chalmers has interviewed hundreds of school shooters, mass murderers and serial killers.

He said there are always warning signs that often go unnoticed.

“No father, being bullied, dysfunctional home, use of drugs and alcohol, obsession with violent media, obsession with guns. I talked to all school shooters and most of them wanted help. They didn’t want to do a school shooting. A lot of it is a cry for help,” Chalmers explained.

He said there are several ways to keep our schools safe.

The first is recognizing bad things can happen anywhere.

“We’ve got to get our community and our schools out of denial. It can happen here. Listen… I’ve been to Littleton, I’ve been to Newtown, I’ve been to some nice places that I can’t believe they had shootings. So, denial, we’ve got to get out of denial,” Chalmers said.

Chalmers added that prevention is key to keeping schools safe, saying events like the one in Cullman make communities safer.

He said every school across the nation should have well-trained officers on campus who will not only help deter active shooters but will also be ready to act should the need arise.

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