Summerville Police Chief: Department prepared to respond to mass shootings

A screen grab of the live video of Summerville Police Chief Jon Rogers (far left) speaking to council members and public safety committee members (from left) Bill McIntosh, Aaron Brown and Walter Bailey on March 5.

Summerville Police Chief Jon Rogers spoke to council members at a public safety committee meeting Monday about preparations for if a mass shooting were to take place in the area.

Rogers said officers do monthly training for active shooters and active threats.

“Every month we train at the schools; we’ve been doing lock-down and lock-out drills and we have school resource officers (SROs) assigned at all campuses—they are the first line of defense," Rogers said.

Rogers said there are nine officers full-time at area elementary, middle and high schools, all trained for a worst-case scenario. Officers are also on duty during summer school.

“You can no longer wait for the S.W.A.T. team to come in; you have to take care of the threat and eliminate it,” Rogers said. “We always have someone keeping an eye on the schools.”

He said officers have maps of each school in case they are called to an emergency.

“When they get there, they will know where the threat is,” he said.

Rogers said the police department is also working with local churches about how to handle an emergency shooter situation.

“When we go into an organization or a building, a lot of people think that you run to the people injured first. That’s our second response—our first response is to get to the threat,” Rogers said.

Summerville town council member Aaron Brown requested the update from the police department for the public safety meeting.

“A mass shooting can occur anywhere—a church or school—anywhere,” Brown said. “I was just thinking of the entire footprint of Dorchester District 2 and Dorchester Country District 4 school districts. I want the public to know that we are aware of what’s happening in the world, and we are prepared if something were to occur here.”

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