On Friday Springettsbury Township Police helped lead an active shooter drill that seemed all too real.
Officials with the department and Central York School District have worked together for months to put together the massive drill.
“There are very few of these drills that have taken place in the whole nation,” said Duane Hagelgans, PIO with South Central Task Force. Hagelgans stressed how rare it is to conduct a drill of this scale yet still involve the students. “Typically we do drills during the summer, when school is out. We wanted a real live exercise, during the school year, with kids in the building. This is a great opportunity for everyone, local state and national.”
Officials tried to make the experience as real as possible. “We have locked down the building, the students, faculty and staff are in lock-down,” Julie Romig said halfway through the drill. She is the spokesperson for Central York School District. “We’ve instructed them that they need to walk out arms raised, fingers spread, not take their belongings, remain calm and listen to the instructions of the law enforcement.”
The drill included more than 100 agencies. “From the local area, regional responders, state and federal. So we have all levels of law enforcement, we have private, public sectors, we have ambulances, the hospitals are participating, York County EMA and the South Central Task Force,” said Hagelgans.
The goal is to test how prepared police, and other emergency responders are in the event of a school shooting. “They’re testing their emergency operation plans, the school district has a plan, the local police department has a plan, the county has a plan, and everyone today is testing out their plans,” said Hagelgans.
The drill also provided a chance for the school district to test out their Reunification system for the first time. “We have never before tested our reunification plan with parent volunteers. They will receive an automated phone call just as the would in an emergency. They will go to the middle school just as they would in a real life situation, and then they will go through our written procedures for reunifying with their student,” said Romig. “Some of it is going really well today, some of it we are learning we need to work on a little bit more. So it’s been very successful so far.”