Pickens County law enforcement training takes on new urgency after 2 recent tragedies

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:52 PM CDT
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PICKENS COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - What a week it’s been and not a good one for a Nashville, Tennessee, school and for the city of Huntsville. In two separate cases, three children and three adults died from an active shooter at The Covenant School and a Huntsville police officer died in the line of duty. Both of these national stories weighed on the minds for a group of people in west Alabama.

The reason is because the training in Pickens County that involved a number of lawmen took on added significance.

Pickens County Sheriff Jordan Powell immediately thought about the training inside the closed hospital in Carrolton once he heard about the school shooting in Nashville and then again when policeman Garrett Crumby died in the line of duty in Huntsville. Two tragedies in one week, two brutal reminders lawmen can never get enough training.

“It has a little more meaning today because of the tragedies this week, it just goes to show you nobody is exempt,” said Pickens County Sheriff Jordan Powell.

Reform Police Chief Richard Black and the sheriff have some 60 years of law enforcement experience combined. Chief Black has one officer taking part in the exercise inside the hospital and already they’ve had conversations about the two cases; the takeaways and teachable moments.

“You always try to look and make the training up to date with what’s going on with the current times. We have top instructors and they’re always making adjustment with the training,” said Reform Police Chief Richard Black.

Friday was actually the second day of training for Pickens County lawmen. The first day was one week ago. The scenario? An active shooter exercise.

Both men say the training program wasn’t necessarily tweaked because of what happened in the two cities, but most definitely being discussed.

“Being mentally prepared for the real thing that might occur,” said Sheriff Powell.

Sheriff Powell and Chief Black commended the courage the Nashville police officers showed in confronting the shooter and eliminating the threat. The same for Officer Crumby and his partner who was also shot in Huntsville. That very thing, both men say, is something you can’t get from training, the ‘it’ factor. The training just adds to it, according to the lawmen.

“You have to have natural courage and something that’s born within you. I can’t explain what it is. It’s like a preacher. You’re either called or you’re not and law enforcement is no different,” said Chief Black.

A total of around 18 officers and deputies took part in Friday’s active shooter exercise at the hospital, and all 18 represented the five law enforcement agencies in Pickens County.

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