MCCSC Shooter Drill Has Few Complications

The exercise was precipitated in part by December’s school shooting in Connecticut and may represent a sea change in what disasters the district trains for.

police

Photo: Bill Shaw/WTIU News

A police officer listens to his radio during an active shooter drill at Jackson Creek Middle School in Bloomington on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

For the first time in about a decade, the Monroe County Community School Corporation held Tuesday a drill simulating a school shooting.

It looked like the real thing.

Police stormed Jackson Creek Middle School, squad cars blocked off the area and a group of student and staff volunteers were evacuated from the building and loaded onto waiting school buses after the mock shooter was no longer a threat.

MCCSC Planning Director John Carter says months of planning went into the drill, but there were still some unforeseen issues.

“Couple little snafus – my radio didn’t work to transportation, we need the speakers on the outside of the building to make sure they’re communicating to people on the outside,” he says. “Those are minor snafus, technological things that we can take care of. Otherwise, it seemed to go according to plan.”

A bigger issue may be the amount of time between practices.

John Matthews is the Executive Director of the Community Safety Institute, which helped plan the day. He says 10 years is too long to wait.

“Probably need to do it maybe a little sooner,” Matthews says. “Maybe every 2-3 years.  3-5 at the very most.  Just because you have such a turnover in staff.  At the police department, fire department, in the school district different officials, administrators.”

Carter says it is likely the MCCSC will train for active shooter situations more frequently after the shootings in Connecticut and a 2011 shooting at Martinsville West Middle School.

He says the next training may take place at either Bloomington High School North or South, but that there is no timetable for it yet.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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