Don’t be alarmed in the upcoming days if you notice an unusually heavy police presence with officers armed with rifles and wearing assault gear near Indian Land High School this week.

There is nothing wrong.

Local law enforcement, along with first responders and emergency agencies, will be conducting a realistic active shooting training at the school campus, which is along U.S. 521 North near the Steel Hill community.

The training drills are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, and Thursday, July 28, according to a statement issued by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.

There will be lots of activity and noise, including simulated gunfire, in and around the school campus on the two days.

“I hope and pray every day we will never be dispatched to an active shooter event like the many that have occurred nationwide in recent weeks and months,” said Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile. “On the other hand, our officers and the many agencies who would respond must be prepared, and we all spend lots of time training for events like this.”

According to data from the online, independent Gun Violence Archive (GVA), there have been 47 mass shooting events across the country this month, with 21 deaths and 221 injuries. This includes the July 4 celebration shooting in Highland Park, Ill., in which eight people were killed and 29 were injured.

A nonprofit research group, the GVA tracks gun violence data from more than 7,500-plus sources, using police reports, news coverage and other public sources.

The GVA defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people were killed or injured.

Closed to the public

The training exercises are closed to the public and the school will be inaccessible, according to the LCSO.

Agency personnel, vehicles and equipment will be staged at several locations along U.S. 521 near the school.

Signs alerting the public about the training will be placed north and south of the campus and near its entrance.

Although no traffic flow issues are anticipated, motorists should be careful when driving through the area.

The training will include local law enforcement, as well as Lancaster County EMS, County Fire-Rescue and emergency management, the city fire department, the coroner’s office, public safety communications, the Lancaster County School District and the Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Department.

“The school district is thankful for our local law enforcement,” said School District Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Phipps. “Our first priority is to keep our students and staff safe.”

The scenario-based training is a follow up to a three-day Active Shooter Incident Management (ASIM) course that the same participants took in May.

Realistic scenarios will be run Tuesday morning, followed by a different scenario Tuesday afternoon.

It will repeat again Thursday to allow as many personnel as possible to participate.

“This two-day training exercise is designed to pull all the pieces together from eliminating the threat to rescuing and triaging patients to reuniting students with their families,” Faile said. “We will run the scenarios and evaluate our performance to make sure we have it right.”

Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at 803-339-6869.

Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at 803-339-6869.

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