GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters held a training Thursday night at a Jenison elementary school on how to respond to an active shooter.

Julie Roby, the principal of Bauerwood Elementary, said having onsite training is an important part of preparing for the unimaginable. 

“Having an opportunity like this is pivotal for the safety of our kids,” Roby said. “We work very closely with our Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and our police liaisons throughout the entire school year when we practice our drills and so we just really see this as an opportunity to bring everybody together, police and fire and be able to practice in the building.”

The Georgetown Township Fire Department and Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office declined to speak on camera but say the training night is just a small portion of what they do to work with local districts on security.   

“We have our emergency operating plans but the more we can get people in and get agencies on board so that we are all communicating in the same way that’s why these evenings are so important so that we’re all on the same,” Roby said.

The police response to a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has departments under a microscope but first responders in Ottawa County say they have been committed to staying on top of the latest training for many years.

“In light of everything that’s happened around the nation, it’s continued our conversations and it’s spurred on conversations even further. You learn things from every situation, which is unfortunate, but we also have an opportunity to learn and so we’re always partnering to see what we can do better,” Roby said.  

The goal is to keep training current and top of mind for first responders.

“The more prepared we can be and the more proactive we can be. The more comfortable we feel in an emergency situation,” Roby said.