While employees of the Valley County Courthouse gathered in the court room with law enforcement, they were briefed on safety procedures. As unnerving as it sounded, they were given a scenario of a shooter entering the building and explained how a drill in the courthouse might work.
The safety training at the courthouse took a few hours on a recent morning. A similar drill was set in the courthouse six years ago, a much more dramatic scene as actors came into the courthouse with guns.
The scenario that played out was similar to a scene that employees have already experienced.
An upset patron wanders up to the clerk's office, gets disgruntled, refusing to listen or give his name. Office employees struggle to deal with the man, and alert others by a few buttons on the phone. While other employees could see something was going on across the lobby, some didn't realize there was an issues.
Just before the situation escalates further, a deputy steps up and assesses the scene, quickly taking the man into custody and moving him away. Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier said that the actor actually had a gun in his jacket, and if the scene would have continued to escalate he may have pulled it.
Employees explained that this wasn't too farfetched. After the exercise took place, the employees gathered again to go over how the training went and ask questions. Meier told employees to be sure to rely on yourself in a situation and to read body language.
The county has been working on a safety plan that might hold procedures in incidents like this one, to help employees know how to react in an awkward and potentially dangerous situation.
Around six years ago, a woman died in a Glasgow shooting. While that incident made the training scenario more realistic for locals and law enforcement, it wasn't the start to training in the area. Glasgow Police Chief Bruce Barstad said that training started soon after the Columbine school shooting in 1999.
The schools also run drills and training on scenarios in the county. Glasgow High School developed a plan in the last year and drills were done last spring to test it. Student Resource Officer Robert Weber helped ensure the plan worked well for the school. Meier and Barstad said that they run these scenarios and trainings with the local schools when it's requested.
Local law enforcement has been working on educating the public on safety procedures, encouraging people to report suspicious activity when it's in progress.