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"I think we are," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.
Harrison has stationed dozens of his deputies at Wake schools as resource officers. In the event of an active shooter, they'd be the first line of defense.
"We're always looking for ways to keep you safe," Harrison said. "And we drill. We do things. And, if we miss something, we feel like we've let you down."
The teens who ran out of Stoneman Douglas High School with their hands in the air Wednesday had been trained and drilled for something like this.
"I heard five pops and I was like that's not a drill," one frightened student recalled.
Harrison said Wake County Schools run active shooter drills one to two times a year. He said he thinks it's not enough.
"Oh yes, I really do (believe we need more drills)," Harrison said.
But beyond the drills, the sheriff is urging his deputies to build deeper relationships inside the schools - trusting relationships with students and staff that could lead to tips about potential dangers.
There is concern in south Florida about red flags possibly missed about the suspected shooter.
"Anything you see on Facebook, Instagram or anything that looks suspicious that something might happen at that school - let that officer know, let a principal know, let a teacher know," Harrison said.
Every Wake school has written its own emergency plan - including at least two response teams to try to prevent and react to the kinds of incidents that happened in Florida.
But Wednesday, was just one more reminder, these terrible days often come with no warning.