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NJ School Hostage Drill – With Christian Terrorists

From the local New Jersey newspaper the Burlington County Times:

Jersey City Emergency Service Unit police officers participate in a hostage drill at a Jersey City school on Friday, November 3, 2006.

Hostage drill prepares school for crisis

By DAVID LEVINSKY
Burlington County Times

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP — The scenario has played out in real life across America: Gunfire echoes through a school and students are held hostage.

But police, faculty and staff lived out their own make-believe version yesterday of just such a tragedy at Burlington Township High School, complete with Kevlar-clad officers, armed suspects and students portraying the wounded and dead.

The purpose of the drill was to test the reactions of police, faculty and administration.

“You perform as you practice,” Superintendent Chris Manno said prior to the exercise. “We need to practice under conditions as real as possible in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they’re as effective as possible.”

The mock terror attack involved two irate men armed with handguns who invaded the high school through the front door. They pretended to shoot several students in the hallway and then barricaded themselves in the media center with 10 student hostages.

Two Burlington Township police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don’t believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.

To make the drill more realistic, about 10 students volunteered to act as hostages or wounded victims. Several faculty members helped simulate a complete school lockdown, followed by an evacuation.

The full student body was not present for the drill because of a scheduled half-day of classes, officials said.

At the start of the drill, an announcement over the loudspeaker system informed faculty and staff that a “Code 3 lockdown” was in effect, thus requiring students to remain in classrooms, away from all windows and doors.

School Resource Officer George Bogda appeared next, maneuvering through a hallway, toward the media center, where he located the gunmen and radioed his location to officers.

A short time later, a team of five police officers entered the school and moved up the hallway toward the media center with their firearms drawn.

They took up positions around the media center doors to contain the gunmen to the room so the rest of the rest of the school could be safely evacuated.

Members of the Burlington County Joint Tactical Team, more commonly known as SWAT for Special Weapons and Tactics, also arrived to evacuate wounded students and perform emergency first aid.

Observing and evaluating during the exercise were various police officers, school administrators and officials from the state and the county Office of Emergency Management.

Burlington Township Public Safety Director William Corter said the drill was the first live exercise testing the police and school response plans to a hostage crisis.

“This should really show how well we work together and respond,” Corter said. “If mistakes are made, we want to know how they should be corrected. The things we do right, we still want to see how we can make them better.”

How realistic. 

Those Christian “Crusaders” are such a threat.

(Please note that the photo at the top is of another but surely similar hostage drill at a high school in Jersey City.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, April 2nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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