Two sheriff’s departments from the Pine Belt joined forces Thursday at a local church to participate in a training exercise, all working to keep the community they serve safe.
“We try to do as realistic training as we can and different setting that you know we may get called out to, whether that be a school, church, or any place with a large number of people,” Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said.
Members of the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and Lamar County Sheriff’s Department have a mutual aid agreement, and both train together to benefit both counties on a month-to-month basis.
“The more you train with another individual, the more muscle memory it is, that you know how the other person is going to react. There’s no second guessing so the more you train with other individuals the better it is with everybody involved,” Rigel said.
The departments train in various locations like churches, schools and movie theaters to mirror what is going on nationwide.
“These scenarios are what seems like is happening nationwide," Rigel said. "We have got a heightened level of security and awareness and we want to be cutting edge as far as responding to something like that if it does occur."
Both departments working together not only benefit both communities, but officers as well.
“They are highly trained, they are highly motivated, they are all volunteers, but the training that they do they can also pass on to the other members of the sheriff’s department that work on a day-to-day basis, so everyone benefits from it,” Rigel said.
With everything happening around the nation, from mass shootings to other horrific incidents, the departments should rather be prepared, and never caught off guard.
“It’s one of those things, it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it,” Rigel said.
The scenarios change month to month and vary on locations.
“You know you always prepare for the worse and I hope the worse doesn’t happen, but we want to be prepared in case something does happen,” Rigel said.