WAKEFIELD – A crisis drill was held Thursday morning where 470 students K-12 along with teachers and staff heard gun shots and followed protocol as if there was an active shooter in the building.
This drill has been done a handful of times and each drill there were additions. This time, local law enforcement added rifles along with the blue handguns to the mix along with reunification process and a mock press conference at the media point held at the ESU.
Gunshots first sounded around 9:35 a.m. and when two members with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department swept through the building two more shots in the hallway. Law enforcement then went door-to-door clearing students and teachers.
Superintendent of Wakefield School, Mark Bejot said their goal was to simulate the lockdown-no response protocol due to an armed intruder.
“Police evacuated the building and looked for the intruder and eliminated the intruder,” said Bejot. “Then they started the process of checking all open doors throughout the building and then they slowly moved into secure doors.”
Teachers used the phone system to warn everybody as the drill time was unknown to students and staff. Roughly 40-45 rooms were checked.
Those involved included Wayne and Dixon County Emergency Management along with Wayne, Dixon and Dakota County law enforcement, Emerson PD and the Nebraska State Patrol.
Wayne County Emergency Manager, Nic Kemnitz added what their role would be if it was a real-life emergency.
“Would be to support the responding agencies, to help coordinate additional resources coming in and kind of get an accountability of who’s here,” Kemnitz added. “Then working with the state to get additional resources if needed.
Three Criminal Justice students at Wayne State College were also used as actors (not being a part of the school) and they were captured.
A previous drill brought in around 40 principals and superintendents. Mr. Bejot mentioned practice does improve the process and it takes a lot of coordination.
“Should, God forbid never happen, but if it does then we’ve got practice in there and know what things to encounter,” Bejot mentioned. “Every time we find new things that we didn’t consider.”
A 2 p.m. debriefing was then held to hear from teachers, law enforcement and emergency management about what they did well and what can be improved.