Drill Readies College, Law Enforcement for Potential Crisis
July 18, 2013
Atlantic Cape Community College, in conjunction with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Township of Hamilton Police Department, hosted the annual Atlantic County Critical-Incident-in Schools Exercise at its Mays Landing Campus July 12.
More than 30 college employees participated in the drill, which was conducted on a day the college was closed to students. Bill Keener, director of public safety for the college, worked with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office to host their 11th annual school crisis scenario at the college.
The objective of the exercise is to test the ability of law enforcement to respond to a crisis situation within the school and to work with the school to make sure emergency plans are adequate. The exercise provides law enforcement authorities and education staff the opportunity to practice and improve their emergency preparedness response plans, and sharpen the coordination of resources. The exercise tested law enforcement and school security skills, including facility lockdown, tactical deployment, communications and hostage negotiations.
“Atlantic Cape Community College takes public safety seriously, and we were proud to host this significant event at our Mays Landing Campus,” said Dr. Peter L. Mora, president. Mora is chairperson of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council’s Campus Safety and Security Committee.
Mora established a cross-functional Safe Campus Initiative Advisory Committee in 2009 to assess and evaluate new security measures at the college. Since then, the committee has successfully established a student and visitor identification system; installed interior locks on classroom and office doors; instituted lockdown drills with specialized training for employees; worked to improve video surveillance at all Atlantic Cape campuses; and implemented a broadcast FM alert system to augment the use of text alerts during emergencies.
“It was one of the committee’s goals to complete a live drill to complement the active shooter training provided to staff and students during the past school year,” Keener said. “Our participation in this drill reinforced the positive relationship we have with Hamilton Township Police, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies.”
“We further expanded on this activity with a debriefing July 17 with the Prosecutor’s Office to evaluate our performance and addressed aspects we could enhance in the future,” said Eileen Curristine, dean of Human Resources, Public Safety & Compliance and chair of the Safe Campus Committee.
Local, County and State agencies participated in the July 12 exercise, including: the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Township of Hamilton Police Department, the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management, the Atlantic County Emergency Response Team/SWAT, Atlantic County Hostage Negotiators, American Red Cross and the 177th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard.