Kevin Killeen @KMOXKilleen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –The Republican candidate for Sheriff in St. Louis is responding to claims by his Democratic opponent that deputies are unprepared to handle an active shooter at the state court houses downtown.

Deputy John Castellano III says the deputies need ongoing training, noting that they were last trained to face active shooters “four or five years ago.”

When asked if deputies guarding the state court houses downtown are ready, Castellano said, “I believe we are.”

(Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

(Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

His Democratic opponent Vernon Betts told KMOX last week that deputies don’t have enough training to know what to do if a shooting emergency took place at the court houses.

“If there was a shooter that came in, more than likely, everybody would hit the floor or start running, instead of coming up with some sort of system or plan to protect the public,” Betts said.

Betts is campaigning on public safety, saying deputies need much more training.

Responding to Betts’ dire warning last week, retiring Sheriff Jim Murphy told KMOX that all of his deputies have undergone “active shooter” training at the police academy. Murphy claims deputies are ready to protect the court houses.

Castellano says another issue in the Sheriff’s race is pay. He says the $27,000 starting salary for deputies needs to be increased.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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