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Deputies respond to simulated massacre at former Knights Stadium in Fort Mill

By Stephanie Marks Martell
Special to The Fort Mill Times
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Dannie Walls - Special to The Herald
Trent Faris (left) and Joe Bennett lead as Michael Johnson follows up from behind as they work their way back out keeping an eye open for any threats that they encounter during an active shooter drill at Knights Stadium.

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FORT MILL York County churches, schools, a local theme park, and now an abandoned baseball stadium are a few of the places the York County Sheriff's Office has picked to make sure its officers are trained and ready to respond to any violent emergency that comes their way.

The sheriff's office held its annual active shooter training for department employees this week, and groups of 10 to 35 officers spent the week responding to a variety of high-pressure scenarios. Friday morning's classroom: the former Knight's Castle off Gold Hill Road. The Charlotte Knights recently vacated the county-owned stadium and are moving into a new Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte.

“It's abandoned. It has a large area we can work on,” said Patrol Sergeant and department instructor Buddy Brown.

“We can utilize our ‘simulations,’ which are our blank firing weapons. We can do marking cartridges in here. Not a lot of people are familiar with the layout of it, which is much the way it would be if we had an actual situation.”

The training is designed for all of the county’s armed personnel.

“We try to get everyone who carries a gun with the sheriff's office to go through this training and be familiar with it,” Brown said. “We teach them basic movement tactics that are as safe as we can possibly get them in there to do. We set up the scenarios so that if they utilize the tactics they're supposed to, the scenarios are very winnable for them. If they fail to do that, it makes them a lot more difficult for them.”

The drill includes “role players” simulating victims and communications exercises, especially with EMS workers.

“We do a lot of talking with other agencies, a lot of networking through the Internet,” Brown said. “Since I'm the one who coordinates this training, every year I'll do an up-to-date on what's happened since the last time we trained. This year we talked about Sandy Hook, the Maryland Mall shootings, and some things like that.”

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