The rise in active assailant situations affecting public schools throughout the United States always weighs on the minds of those connected to public education — parents, teachers, school administrators, bus drivers and, of course, students.
That's why the North American School Bus EXPO, presented by School Transportation News magazine, will feature a live presentation on July 27 given by S.W.A.T. team deputies from the Washoe County Sheriff's Office demonstrating best practice scenarios specifically related to the seizure or attack of a school bus by an active assailant. In order to educate bus drivers on how law enforcement responds to these situations, deputies will illustrate techniques on how they respond to assailants who attempt to hijack a school bus.
The exercise is designed to provide as realistic an emergency situation as possible.
"It's our hope that through this demonstration, bus transportation drivers and administrators will learn how they can work with law enforcement to keep their students and themselves safe," said Lt. Tim O'Connor, S.W.A.T. commander of the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.
This demonstration will be held in conjunction with STN's 21st annual national conference on student transportation safety. The EXPO conference and trade show returns to the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev., from July 26 to 30.
EXPO full conference attendees will be able to watch this live, interactive event in parking lot B of the Grand Sierra Resort. There, S.W.A.T. deputies will execute several incident responses relating to school buses, including an armed hostage scenario.
Prior to the presentation, the Washoe County Sheriff's deputies will exchange information with student transportation and security subject matter experts Bret E. Brooks of Gram Ram Tactical LLC and Denny Coughlin of the School Bus Safety Company. They will review information on school bus structure and best practice tactics with the deputies.
Brooks, a full-time police officer in Missouri and former captain of the Missouri Army National Guard, said attendees will take away a greater knowledge and understanding of school bus hijacking situations.
"Attendees will learn some basic information that they can use to assist responding police officers, along with some key factors relating to how to avoid a school bus hijacking," he added. "With recent tragedies involving school bus hijackings, this should be a 'must-attend' event."
Coughlin noted that the moderated event will also explain the operation and answer attendees' questions.
"This is a rare opportunity to learn how law enforcement reacts to our emergencies," he said.