Brooke emergency crews take part in school drill

DRILL CONDUCTED — Police and other emergency vehicles could be found outside Brooke High School Friday morning as area police, fire and ambulance departments participated in a drill aimed at testing response to a theoretical mass shooting at the school. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Police officers, firefighters and ambulance crews from several emergency departments in the county convened at Brooke High School Friday morning for a drill spurred by recent mass public shootings in other states.

About 20 minutes long, the drill was organized by John White, the lead prevention resource officer for Brooke County Schools, who said the goal was to evaluate communication levels between the various departments.

The school district’s summer school program wasn’t in session, so no students were present.

White said there are plans to conduct a simulation involving students and staff later in the year.

A former Brooke County sheriff’s deputy, White oversees Wellsburg Police Capt. Paul Pownall, who serves as prevention resource officer at nearby Brooke Middle School; and security guards employed by the school district at other schools.

It wasn’t the first time such a drill has been held in Brooke County Schools.

During Christmas break in 2018, several local departments participated in an active shooter simulation at the high school spearheaded by Wellsburg Patrolman Micah Knisley.

With the support of then-Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson, Knisley enlisted members of the sheriff’s department and Wellsburg and Beech Bottom police departments to participate in a simulation that also involved members of the school’s basketball team and children of law enforcement officers.

Following the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, the school district was among many that used state funds to purchase security measures, such as surveillance cameras, and established central points of entries to schools.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)


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