AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- A gunman opens fire at an Indiana school, but it's all just a test to prepare police and school officials for their worst nightmare.

Students go back to the classrooms in some southern Indiana schools.  But Wednesday, officials were hard at work on a training exercise that had all of the elements of a real and terrifying threat.

"He's in here, he's in here," said one of the actors.

In this scenario, Indiana State Police are met with gunfire at Austin High School.

"I need you to help me, please," said a woman pretending to be shot. There's also a dangerous suspect armed with a rifle.

It doesn't take police long to get the fake suspect into custody. But the sounds and sights are still a little jarring -- and they're meant to be.

"That really hit home, you know, got cold chills as that was going," said Micah Heath, principal at Vienna Finley Elementary School.

"It's really different when you experience the noise and the people screaming and it just really drives home hey this could really happen," said Scott County District 1 Superintendent Robert Anderson.

Indiana State Trooper Jerry Goodin said, "What we're doing is we're providing training for all of the administrators of all the local school districts in southern Indiana that Sellersburg Post covers."

The title of this program is The Unarmed Response to an active shooter. All southern Indiana schools have a safety plan, however, the training takes it to the next level.

"This provides direction to educators on what they can do from the time the event starts until help arrives," said ISP School Safety Liaison Rich Hogue.

"A lot of the training that they have prepares them for an active shooter, what we wanted to do today is prepare them for what's going to happen when the police arrives, what's going to happen when law enforcement arrives," said Sgt. Goodin.

So while the training may have been a little dramatic, it's meant to put parents at ease.

"We want parents to be able to feel safe when they send their kids to school," said Anderson.

Going forward, Indiana State Police will also be implementing the school walk through initiative.

That involves troopers periodically walking the halls of schools, talking to both students and teachers.

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