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updated: 7/16/2013 4:49 PM

Police, fire officials help U-46 with security drill

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  • Police and Elgin Area School District U-46 observers watch from a corner as the Elgin Police SWAT team does a room to room search during a simulated school security breach exercise Tuesday at Abbott Middle School. The scenario included a shooting situation, mock injuries, lockdown, police rapid deployment, building clearing and post-incident debriefing.

       Police and Elgin Area School District U-46 observers watch from a corner as the Elgin Police SWAT team does a room to room search during a simulated school security breach exercise Tuesday at Abbott Middle School. The scenario included a shooting situation, mock injuries, lockdown, police rapid deployment, building clearing and post-incident debriefing.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • The Elgin Police SWAT unit prepares to enter Abbott Middle School during a simulated school security breach exercise Tuesday completed in partnership with the Elgin Fire Department.

       The Elgin Police SWAT unit prepares to enter Abbott Middle School during a simulated school security breach exercise Tuesday completed in partnership with the Elgin Fire Department.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin police approach the front of Abbott Middle School Tuesday morning during a simulated school shooting.

       Elgin police approach the front of Abbott Middle School Tuesday morning during a simulated school shooting.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • A "suspect" is taken into custody Tuesday during a simulated school shooting at Abbott Middle School in Elgin. Elgin Area School District along with the police and fire departments took part in an exercise that included a shooting situation, mock injuries, lockdown, police rapid deployment, building clearing and post-incident debriefing.

       A "suspect" is taken into custody Tuesday during a simulated school shooting at Abbott Middle School in Elgin. Elgin Area School District along with the police and fire departments took part in an exercise that included a shooting situation, mock injuries, lockdown, police rapid deployment, building clearing and post-incident debriefing.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin Police SWAT members do a room by room sweep during a security exercise involving a simulated shooting Tuesday at Abbott Middle School.

       Elgin Police SWAT members do a room by room sweep during a security exercise involving a simulated shooting Tuesday at Abbott Middle School.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Video: U-46 security drill in Elgin

 
 

Police officers, weapons drawn, took positions on the perimeter.

With the streets surrounding Abbott Middle School in Elgin cordoned off Tuesday morning, an armored vehicle carrying members of the Elgin Special Weapons and Tactics team sped to the side door.

Radios and walkie-talkies crackled with a report of gunmen and shots fired. The officers filed out of the vehicle, rifles pointed down, moving quickly past a sign, "Police Training in Progress Do Not Enter."

It was all part of Elgin Area School District U-46 and the Elgin police and fire departments' simulated school security breach exercise. The scenario involved a gunman and mock injuries. The district has conducted these training exercises since 2007.

"It's an effort to refine our process every year," said John Heiderscheidt, the U-46 coordinator of school safety and security. "I think it went great." Administrators, school principals and school resource officers from schools throughout the district attended and monitored the action from inside the school and from the command center a couple blocks away in a church parking lot.

"I was impressed by the way the police and fire officials asked us questions and wanted our opinions," said Susan Smith, U-46's Multi-Tier System of Support coordinator. "They were encouraging our input."

"I think it went smoothly, or as smoothly as something like this can go," said Christine Zelaya, principal of Sycamore Trails Elementary School in Bartlett. "The communication between everyone involved was impressive."

More than 160 people took part in the exercise, including 52 from the police department, 25 from the fire department and 85 volunteers.

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