TEEX sponsored a tabletop exercise focusing on coordination and communication between responder groups and school officials in the event of an active shooter incident at a local school.

COLLEGE STATION – College Station Independent School District personnel joined Brazos County and Bryan-College Station first responders in an active shooter exercise on Aug. 15 to evaluate the protocols for responding to and recovering from a school shooting. 

Thirty-six participants faced a scenario involving a shooter firing rounds inside a College Station school, and honed their plans for responding to the incident to protect life, resolve the crisis and perform recovery operations. Representatives from the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Division of Emergency Management, along with College Station, Bryan and Texas A&M Police and local Fire Departments discussed coordination and communication issues between responders and campus officials. Sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), the tabletop exercise was held at the state-of-the art Emergency Operations Training Center. 

This was the first joint exercise for school personnel and representatives of local public safety and emergency response agencies, said Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk. “An incident like this impacts every level of our community and county. We brought all the players together to test ourselves. We want to have everyone on the same page. It’s a very valuable opportunity for us to work out the details and identify any shortcomings. And we applaud TEEX for allowing us to use their facility and expertise. This took us to a new level.”

CSISD Student Services Director Chrissy Hester said, “This is eye-opening for us. It’s important to sit down with the people you will work with in a crisis. It helps us think about things and put together different teams to make it work better. We can ask questions, and discuss how we can coordinate sensitive, important issues. It’s nice to work through this is advance so we can handle it to the best of our ability.”

CSISD Communications Director Chuck Glenewinkel added: “It has been helpful for us to get a glimpse of the first responders’ viewpoints, so we can see how we might work better with them should a situation ever occur. We’re fortunate to have good relationships with local public safety agencies and world-class training facilities here at TEEX where we can all work together for the benefit of our community.”

TEEX Law Enforcement Training Division Director Dr. John Ray cautioned the participants: “No two active shooter situations are the same. The biggest thing is being flexible and adaptive. It’s important to work through scenarios like this so you don’t get locked in to responding to the last active shooter situation.

“It’s valuable for key leaders and decision-makers to work together and think through how to respond and adapt within the framework of their response plan to meet new and emerging threats. This exercise shows that the community and law enforcement agencies are willing to work through and coordinate on vital issues. “

(In photo, l-r, Chuck Glenewinkel of CSISD, Nathan Dennis of the Brazos Valley Sheriff’s Office and Lt. Steve Brock of the College Station Police Department hold a mock press conference during the exercise.)
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