Police chief responds to Orlando shooting, sheriff offers help t - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Police chief responds to Orlando shooting, sheriff offers help to local gay nightclub

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Club One in downtown Savannah is essentially the city’s counterpart to Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, the site of this weekend’s massacre.

Like Pulse, Club One is just blocks from City Hall and is in the heart of the city.

Monday night, the doors were open and it was businesses as usual. They're not letting what happened stop people from gathering Monday and this week.

Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher reached out to the management here Sunday to offer additional patrols and monitoring of the club. He also offered to provide training for employees on how to handle an active shooter situation here.

A local veteran even contacted the club and offered to stand guard outside after what happened Sunday in Orlando.

When WTOC reached out to management at the club Monday, they declined to go on camera, but they did say they were grateful for the support and for the proactive stance from the Sheriff.

They also released a written statement:

We can only hope that our mayor and city officials, who have remained silent, will follow Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta in their lead and stand 'shoulder to shoulder,' with Orlando and with us. The shooting of any nightclub is not an issue for just one group of people; it is a human issue. Only as a community can we continue to move forward to eliminate hate.

On Monday, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin also held a press conference in response to the Orlando shootings. He expressed his condolences to the victims and support to the first responders there, and he said his department trains for situations just like this.

[MOBILE USERS: WATCH Chief Jack Lumpkin address media in aftermath of Orlando shooting]

The Metro SWAT team holds training exercises once a month where they recreate scenarios that have actually occurred in other parts of the country. The most recent training was just last Thursday at the Lucas Theatre downtown, where they practiced clearing stairwells and rooms in the dark.

Certain patrol officers have also begun carrying semi-automatic rifles as a proactive measure in case of an active shooter situation.

Chief Lumpkin says they have already begun studying how law enforcement in Orlando handled the situation there to learn from it, and he reiterated the department is prepared if a similar situation were to happen here.

"If we have appropriate intelligence information, we'll have officers where we need to have them. If we have to have more overtime, if we have to work seven days, or if they have to work 24 hours a day, we're going to support those communities that are legally trying to do what's right in America, in this city, and in this county. We are going to be there for them," said Chief Lumpkin.

In addition to meeting with their SWAT officers, the chief also told WTOC they are reviewing challenges and strategies with their off-duty officers that work different clubs in the city to make sure they're on the same page as well. All of these things are efforts to make sure the department is as prepared as can be.

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