Dispatchers from the Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office and the Bastrop Police Department participated in an eight-hour continuing education class Thursday regarding active shooting response.

The Morehouse Parish Communication Service District requires dispatchers to have continuing education yearly and the district along with the MPSO are providing the training to those employed as dispatchers with both law enforcement departments. Dispatchers from Webster and Rapides Parish also attended the training, led by Michael Teixeira, instructor for PowerPhone, a Connecticut-based company which trains dispatchers globally on ways to handle a variety of crises.

The training for active shooting responses was designed to specifically address the role of the public safety telecommunicator in handling these incidents.

Attendees learned how to question and protect callers and witnesses,inform and protect law enforcement officers and responders, handle situations involving suicidal callers and hostages, employ crisis intervention strategies when appropriate and address the special concerns related to school violence.

"We have been hosting these types of training for dispatchers for about five years and I think the information is extremely useful for them, as they are the first persons to talk to victims or complainants," Sheriff Mike Tubbs said. "With this training they are more adept in how to handle situations and notify deputies on the street regarding what is going on."