Active Shooter Drill in Clinton January 3
December 19, 2013
An active shooter drill in Clinton January 3, 2014 will help law enforcement agencies, local educators, first responders and others do a better job dealing with a potential emergency in the city.
The drill is a joint effort of Clinton’s police and fire departments, the Clinton Public School District, the FBI, Hinds County Sheriff’s Department and other first responder agencies. Mississippi College staffers will assist with the drill on the campus of Clinton High School.
“Recent school shootings show that this can happen anywhere, at any grade level,” said Phil Burchfield, superintendent of Clinton schools. “It’s important that we build relationships with first responders and have a plan in place for an incident like this.”
The drill at Clinton High occurs on the Friday before classes resume from the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Several other locations around Clinton, including Mississippi College, will be utilized during the process. Classes at Mississippi College will not be in session due to the break for the holidays.
Mississippi College Department of Public Safety Director Stephen McCraney says the exercise will benefit police, fire and school officials and other first responders.
“It gives all of us a chance to practice our response procedures in an exercise mode,” McCraney said. “With the increase of these incidents over the past few years, more and more jurisdictions are practicing their plans. This allows us to fine-tune our responses, practice our respective roles and develop a list of areas that we need further training in.”
Members of the Mississippi College Office of Public Relations will assist Clinton city officials and public school leaders in the communications process during the exercise. Public information officers from several agencies will test media management, parent communications and rumor control. MC Department of Public Safety staffers are among others at the university playing a role.
A longtime Mississippi National Guard leader, McCraney set up and participated in more than a half dozen of these exercises in his previous job as commander of the Civil Support Team in Mississippi. “At the Department of Defense School for Accident Command and Control we learned the challenges of these types of events and others,” said the Mississippi College graduate. The work ranged from informing the public to managing expectations during the emergency.
The purpose of the early January exercise, said Clinton Police Chief Mike Warren, is “to evaluate the operational capabilities of agencies to manage an active shooter incident.” Officials will videotape the events and assess performance in several areas.
“Obviously, we hope and pray it would never happen anywhere, but if it did, we would feel more comfortable knowing that at least we’re prepared to intervene as quickly and as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher.
Just over a year ago in Newtown, Connecticut, shooter Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six educators before taking his own life at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On April 16, 2007, there were 32 people killed and 17 wounded at Virginia Tech. Shooter Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech senior, then committed suicide. It was the deadliest shooting incident by one gunman in U.S. history. In December, there were shootings at a school in Colorado and a hospital in Nevada.
Mayor Fisher, Burchfield and law enforcement personnel will participate in a mock press conference with local media outlets as part of the activities.
Clinton residents can register for email updates from the city of Clinton or view announcements on the city’s website at www.Clinton.Ms.org. In addition, there will be information posted on www.clintonpublicschools.com.
Photo: Mississippi College Department of Public Safety Director Stephen McCraney