For 23 students in Western Carolina University’s criminal justice program, the opportunity to participate as crisis actors in a multi-agency active shooter response training exercise was a chance to help and learn.

The exercise was conducted Friday, Aug. 30, by the U.S. Marshals Service at the federal courthouse in Asheville. Neighboring streets were closed and notices sent to public and media while surveillance cameras and drones recorded the reactions of first responders.

The exercise also fulfilled university objectives. The program’s curriculum emphasizes dealing with real-world situations as a foundation for future criminal justice and emergency and disaster management careers.

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Originally published Sept. 4, 2019.