‘Active shooter’ drill a success at Waveland
By Dwayne Bremer
Oct 12, 2013, 00:05
Principal Amy Coyne of the Bay-Waveland School District comforts students who were pretending to be hurt during the fictitious attack.
The Waveland Police Department led an "active shooter" exercise Friday morning at Waveland Elementary. The drill featured a real life simulation of a shooting in the school and emergency response to the incident.
"We have been planning this for about six months," Waveland Police Chief David Allen said Friday. "The whole idea of testing is to see where we made mistakes. We learned a lot from this exercise. Hopefully, nothing like this will ever happen, but in the event it does, we will be better prepared."
WPD was assisted in the drill by Waveland's fire and street's departments; the Hancock County Sheriff's Office; the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations; American Medical Response; the Bay-Waveland School District, First Student; Hancock Medical Center; the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency, and local media outlets.
The exercise began at 9:15 a.m. Friday with a mock 911 call stating someone was inside the school with a gun.
Allen's father-in-law, John Newbold, played the part of the perpetrator.
School was not in session Friday, but about two dozen children and school administrators volunteered to help with the drill.
Police cleared the building; captured the alleged suspect; and set up a medical treatment triage area outside the school.
Allen also had a few tricks up his sleeve, such as hysterical parents showing up parents and meddling media members, to test officers at the scene.
"This operation would not have been possible without the help of a lot of people," Allen said. "We wanted to make it as real-life as possible and throw some curve balls out there to see how our guys reacted."
Overall, Allen said, he felt the exercise went well.
"There were a few mistakes, but we learned what they were and can now plan better," he said.
He said he chose the "active shooter" scenario because it is the most dangerous.
"We did this from the top and down," he said. "People may think nothing like this would ever happen in a small town, but you never know."
Allen said by testing the extreme, first responders will be better prepared for any incident.
"It does not have to be a shooter," he said. "We can use this training in case of a fire, a gas leak, or any other scenario."
Allen said he and his department are planning different scenarios in the future, but he declined to say what they may be,