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Richland County deputies teach active shooter training to church group in Spanish

Published: Sep. 19, 2019 at 11:58 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Thursday night, members of a Forest Acres Church that was the site of a shooting and armed robbery in August received training to keep them prepared should a similar situation happen again.

Centro Cristiano De Columbia Pastor Henry Alfaro said the training is necessary and is available, even if you cannot speak English. Alfaro wants those particularly in the Hispanic and Latino community to know they can reach out.

"In this community, we're all a part of it. It doesn't matter if you do or don't have documents. It doesn't matter the color of our skin. We all need to be united in this time. The police, the authorities are here to help us," Alfaro said.

The active shooter training is put on by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and is available to church groups or other organizations that would like to sign up.

“We’ve got over 30 Spanish speaking officers at our department and I could probably tell you that we are by far the largest agency in the state of South Carolina with Spanish speaking officers,” Captain Rafael Gonzalez with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.

The training will walk you through how to create a plan and the steps you need to take, should someone enter your location looking to cause harm with a weapon.

“In our case, today, it’s our turn and we’re going to do what we have to do and we hope that it doesn’t happen to us again, but if it does, we want to have the tools to know how to face this,” Alfaro said.

"It varies from having law enforcement presence to having a security team in place to having people at the door to having people in the parking lot at all times so that person can alert the authorities. It's very important that in today's society that you take a proactive stance," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said, even if you live outside of Richland County, if the need exists, they can visit your church, business, or organization, but you have to sign up for the free service.

Click here to visit the page where you can email Sheriff Leon Lott and his department.

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