UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - As area schools get ready to welcome students back to class, some law enforcement officers are practicing their skills and trying to make sure students are safe.
A mock shooting drill took place Wednesday morning at Unicoi County High School.
Leaders there say it's necessary because, as history proves, no school is immune to the possibility of an attack. "We were in there talking, then all of a sudden you hear the door slam against the wall and [police] came running in. Everyone just panicked and there's screams and people start falling. It was crazy," says Dylan Roberts, a high school junior who played the role of an injured student.
At Wednesday's drill, teams from the sheriff's office, city police, Tennessee Highway Patrol, EMS, even the high school's drama students came together to create a the drill to practice just in case anything were to ever happen. "When I'm actually watching it I'm thinking, chills are going up, thinking if this is real, how would you be feeling?" said Denise Brown, Director of Schools.
This drill wraps up several days of training put on by Shooter's Edge, a Piney Flats firearms training center.
Those in charge say they're happy with the results. "When you start seeing things like this it's a wake-up call. I'm very impressed, very impressed with our officers," says Sheriff Mike Hensley.
Even though people on hand knew the event was a drill, it still created a very real feeling that reminded everyone preparation is key. "I'm really glad our local law enforcement officers are ready for this. God forbid it happens, but it has happened before and we're ready for it," adds Roberts.
Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley tells us all seven Unicoi County schools have a full-time school resource officer.
The school year in Unicoi County begins Tuesday, August 9.