Two voices — one angry, one calm — sounded in a hallway and classroom Friday afternoon at Brownwood Middle School.
    The angry voice belonged to a school employee who’d just been fired. The calm voice belonged to a hostage negotiator.
    “I wanna talk to Fred.”
    “What’s your name?
    “Don’t worry about it. … Give me Fred and then everybody can leave.”
    Seconds later: Gunshots, falling bodies, officers rushing into the room.
    Though intense, it wasn’t real.
    The scenario was part of an active shooter class held Thursday and Friday at Brownwood Middle School. Nearly two dozen officers from seven agencies completed the class, which was put on by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), an active shooter training center at Texas State University in San Marcos.
    Four ALERRT-certified instructors taught the class.
    Brownwood Police Chief Terry Nichols, who helped start ALERRT and worked there before coming to Brownwood, arranged for Brownwood to host an ALERRT class.
     Nichols did not participate in teaching, but watched the training and scenarios and escorted observers including City Manager Emily Crawford and Brownwood Superintendent Dr. Joe Young through the training areas Friday afternoon.
    Officers attended class and practiced techniques Thursday and Friday morning. Friday afternoon, they participated in scripted, active shooter scenarios in which officers played roles — sometimes they were hostages, sometimes they were the active shooters and sometimes they were members of the responding tactical team.
    No one was permitted to enter the school carrying live firearms during the class. Officers instead carried training weapons that fired projectiles at 450 feet per second. Each shot produces a pop that resembles a gunshot but is much quieter. Getting hit by a projectile would sting but not cause injuries.
    “They see it from the victims’ perspective also,” Nichols said as officers prepared to run a scenario.
    C.J. James, an ALERRT-certified instructor and San Antonio police officer, explained the scenario: a domestic situation that spilled over into the school, where the victim worked.
    The scenario began with an officer, portraying a victim, lying in the hall and calling out, “I’ve been shot! Help me!”
    James, playing the role of the shooter, exchanged fire with officers before falling — dead, according to the scenario script.
    A few minutes later, another scenario began in a classroom where a recently fired school employee held hostages and demanded to speak with “Fred,” his former boss who, the man claimed, owed him money.
    “You lost your job? Talk to me about it,” a hostage negotiator said calmly from the hallway.
    “Give me Fred … hey! hey! hey!”
    The man began shooting and officers returned fire, then rushed into the room.
    “Cover …”
    “Two down, suspect down …”
    The man with the gun actually had an armed accomplice, but he quickly surrendered.
    “Turn around and face the wall behind you. Come back. Come toward me. Come toward the sound of my voice. Get on your knees.”
    “Unfortunately there’s a need for this kind of training,” Nichols said earlier. “We owe it to our communities. We need to be prepared for any situation.”