GOSHEN — There was an increased police and fire response presence Friday afternoon at the Goshen Middle School.
Thankfully, it was nothing to be alarmed about as the Goshen police and fire departments joined forces to conduct an active violence training drill.
Goshen Police Chief Jose Miller said training together helps build communication and establishes roles in violent situations which in turn increases preservation of life.
“Some of the weaknesses we’ve encountered in the past have been communication between the different agencies and the school system,” Miller said in a Thursday news conference. “So hopefully through this training exercise, we’ll be able to work through some of those things to try to improve upon our processes for being dispatched to something like this.”
During the training, the officers made entry into the building as they would in a real-life call. Fire department personnel were called to assist in escorting school personnel out to the medic staging area to render aid to school staff playing the role of possible victims.
Training divisions in the two departments have been practicing the past year in a rescue task force concept, different than what they have in the past, according to Goshen Fire Chief Dan Sink.
“Unfortunately, with the act of violence as we’ve encountered it in the last couple years, we have to change in how we react and in how we logistically and strategically put our very best care in security for the citizens that we can,” Sink said.
Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said both departments are constantly training to better serve the community. He added that the exercises will allow the agencies to train further while helping school staff see first-hand what might or could happen.
“It is my greatest hope that our community never has to utilize what is learned in exercises like this, but we will be prepared,” he said.
Goshen Middle School was closed to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the exercise.