LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As area school districts prepare to resume classes, they are taking steps to keep their students and staff safe.

A spat of mass school shootings across the country, the most recent at an elementary school in Uvalde Texas has school officials and police in our region examining or in some cases re-examing their safety protocols.

I-Team reporter Andy Mehalshick spoke with school officials across NEPA and they all say their number one mission is to keep their school family safe.

All this week, a specialized police training exercise was held at Rice Elementary School, to prepare for the unthinkable.

It looked and sounded all too real. Police officers searching for an active shooter inside the Rice Elementary School, a part of the Crestwood School District. Police officers from the Mountain Top area are taking part in the training called “ALERRT,” that’s short for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training.

“Training itself is priceless. Obviously, it could be the worst day of our careers to have to respond to an incident like that. However, after this week continue going forward as we continue training. It will prepare us there we can go out and prepare other officers for that day god forbid it happens,” said Brian Stout, a Police Officer from the Rice Township Police Department.

The ALERRTtraining has a clear mission to take out the threat.

“We’re able to instruct the officers on the proper ways basically it boils down to stop the killing then stop the dying to not only neutralize the threat but then provide first aid to anybody inside whether it’s a business a school or open-air environment,” Officer Stout explained.

Crestwood School District Officials say this is an opportunity to take the next step at planning for the worst-case scenario.

“Oh this is a tremendously important we need our local law enforcement to have a clear understanding of what our schools look like and tey need to practice in the event there is a shooter that’s in our school. How to approach how to attack how to overcome that intruder in the safest the quickest most effective way possible really save lives,” said Peg Foster, principal of Rice Elementary.

Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce launched this training in the county soon after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in May that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

“You know this stuff is very logical stuff makes a lot of sense makes a lot of sense but the time to train and sort of perfect this situation training is long before you need it. You don’t want to be thinking about it as the scenarios are happening,” Sangedolce explained.

Sanquedolce says this ALERRT training is being made available to every police department in Luzerne County, he also points out that ALERRT training, which is based in Texas, can be utilized by police departments all across our region.

Reporter Andy Mehalshick gets an up-close look at the training and talks with police officers about the training on Eyewitness News at 6 p.m.