School lockdown drills are continuing throughout Kingston as normal safety procedures are reevaluated following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. On Monday, the exercise was held at Kingston High School. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on how these drills can help prevent the unthinkable from happening here.
KINGSTON, N.Y. -- The Kingston Police Department pulls up to Kingston High School Monday afternoon. They take to the side door on a mission to find a suspect in the building.
KHS security sent an image of the suspect to the police station, which was then disseminated to all on-duty patrols via their in-car computer within seconds of their arrival. Only in this case, the suspect is an actor and the scene is a drill.
“Everybody stays in their classroom, anybody that's in the hallway goes to the first immediate class they can find and we lock the doors and we keep them out of sight out of harm's way,” said Kingston Police Department School Resource Officer John Kurz.
Halls are quiet and in what appears to be an empty classroom, teenage students line the walls for the duration of the drill. Police continue to track their mock-suspect.
Police say these drills are a regular occurrence in the district. But on the heels of the Newtown massacre, every school in the city is working with the department to take a closer look at the safety exercise.
“They'll help us look and see is there anything we need to improve, suggestions they look to make and that's how we're going to move forward. We're always looking to do a better job,” said Kingston School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Padalino.
Police say it’s not only an effort to evaluate the schools reaction to the lock down, but their response to the situation.
“In evaluating what the officers did they’re response was appropriate. Listening to the radio communications throughout the drill everything appeared to be working as it should,” said Kingston Police Department Sergeant Michael Bonse.
And as they remove the mock suspect from the building, they say the ongoing collaboration and communication with administrators made for the completion of this successful drill.
“We call it a lockdown drill we mean it and we want to test everything and make sure everything runs smoothly and today, it ran smoothly,” said Kurz.