Active shooter simulation at school preparing HCSO for worst-case scenario

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Hillsborough County deputies finished their first day of intense active shooter training Tuesday, as they prepare for a potential worst-case scenario at a school.

The training lasts 12 hours Tuesday and Wednesday and involves every unit of the sheriff's office.

"I don't think we can make the training any more realistic than it is today," Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "The days of, 'if something of this type of magnitude occurring' has been replaced with the realistic view of, 'when this is going to occur.'"

The training took place at Strawberry Crest High School, which was chosen because of its larger size and open layout.

The department practiced with its aviation unit, SWAT team, and bomb squad. Deputies also learn from previous mass shootings.

"They're going to be looking at the threat trends in the past instances like San Bernadino or Columbine, there were [Improved Explosive Devices] encountered in those scenarios, so we're training hard for all that. All those lessons learned, we're trying to put in our current training and learn from that."

The training, which takes place annually, comes months after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Sheriff Chronister said the message for families is simple.

"This is a simple way of saying, 'your sheriff's office is prepared. We're doing everything possible to protect our most valuable resource," he said.

The training will continue on Wednesday. The sheriff's office wants people living around Strawberry Crest to be aware they may hear, what sounds like, gunfire; deputies are shooting live paint rounds during the exercise.