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'We saw worst in humanity but also saw the best': First responders credit training, quick thinking during Collierville mass shooting

"(Thursday) was a terrible day for the Town of Collierville, we saw the worst in humanity but we also saw the best," Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday afternoon, new details were shared of how active shooter training by law enforcement and the 'run/hide/fight' course taken by the public paid dividends during and after last week's Collierville mass shooting.

It's especially personal for a man credited with developing one of those training exercises locally: now Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane.

As the community grieves, those in law enforcement are also grateful area first responders showed heroism and used that recent training to prevent additional deaths and injuries.

"(Thursday) was a terrible day for the town of Collierville, we saw the worst in humanity but we also saw the best," Lane said.

From his office Monday afternoon, Lane reflected back - and looked ahead - four days after the worst mass shooting in the town's 151-year history drew national attention for all the wrong reasons.

"Everyone, you are heartbroken for the loss of life but also there is a sense of pride of how the team responded, I know I'm extremely proud of them," Lane added.

Chief Lane, the former director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, led the creation of the run/hide/fight training to the public in 2015.

15,000 took the hourlong course when Lane retired from the office in 2018.

The now Collierville police chief credited Kroger workers and customers for following through with the main points of that training: being aware and having a plan if an active shooter opens fire.

"Where am I going to go if it starts, is there something in this restaurant that I can take for cover, where is doors for me to get out of here?" Lane said.

"Everyone should know you have the right in America to fight for your life and defend your life," Shelby County Emergency Management Homeland Security Specialist Terry Donald said.

Donald is an instructor of active shooter drills.

On June 4, Donald and others led an active shooter training with Shelby County first responders, including Collierville Police and Fire.

Those same responders - with that training still fresh in their minds - utilized that information as they ran into the Collierville Kroger while others ran out Thursday afternoon.

"Lives were saved because of the response of the first responders, also the response of those in the store," Donald said.

"It was all about neutralizing that threat, everybody knew that was the priority and everyone went to do that and they did it in a coordinated effort which helped contain it," Lane added.

The Shelby County Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security will hold 'run/hide/fight' training sessions on October 9 and November 6 and those with that office said they've seen an uptick in interest for the training since Thursday's mass shooting in Collierville.

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