In the midst of treacherous ice and snow storm Jan. 28 in LaGrange, West Georgia Technical College officials held an active shooter drill on the LaGrange campus without notifying the LaGrange Police Department or other public safety officials.
According to the Troup County 911 communications center, a call came in at 9:56 a.m. to report an active shooter at the WGTC LaGrange campus. An official with the center said that the husband of a woman, who was on campus at the time, called in to report the shooter on the WGTC LaGrange campus. The husband had apparently received a text message from his wife about an alleged shooter, according to the 911 official.
LaGrange Public Safety Chief Lou Dekmar said officers were deployed to the campus after the 911 center put out an active shooter alert.
Dekmar said the first officers responding to such an incident are ordered to assess the situation to determine if there is a danger and, if necessary, engage the suspect in order to protect the people on the campus. In the meantime, back up officers and Special Weapons and Tactical teams are deployed to such a situation. Several officers at the time were investigating several wrecks reported in the area due to inclement weather. Some of those officers were diverted from those traffic investigations to respond to the college campus.
Dekmar said the responding officers determined the situation was a drill scheduled by the college and there was no danger. He also said that his department and the 911 center were not informed about the scheduled drill an were responding as if it were a dangerous situation.
WGTC Associate Provost Lee Newman confirmed that the school held a scheduled active shooter drill.
“We were acting in the best interest of the safety of our students and staff,” Newman said.
Newman would not comment as to why LaGrange public safety officials were not notified of the scheduled drill.
WGTC officials in Carrollton emailed a statement which says as follows:
Campus safety drills are for the protection of all of the students, faculty and staff of West Georgia Technical College. While the active shooter drill on the LaGrange Campus was planned, it was not shared with all as it should have been, including the local first responders.
We regret the timing of the drill and apologize for the misunderstanding. The public should know that this matter is under full review. The leadership of WGTC will ensure that all future campus-wide safety drills are conducted with the full knowledge, approval and participation of all involved.