MSD, emergency responders breakdown active shooter drill

MEDFORD, Ore.– Today, we are learning more about an active shooter drill conducted by the Medford School District earlier this summer.

Back in June, the school district conducted the drill at Oakdale Middle School, with more than two dozen agencies involved.

MSD said they prepared for a variety of situations including multiple shooters, armed parents and fires.

But the district said its biggest area for improvement was the reunification process for students and parents.

Superintendent Bret Champion said, “if all we do from this exercise is sit in a room and say, ‘gosh that was powerful, good on us, good on us’, then this has been a waste of everyone’s time.”

Law enforcement agencies from around the Rogue Valley gathered at Oakdale Middle School for a breakdown of the district’s active shooter drill.

The drill included over 400 participants and aimed to train students, faculty, parents and emergency responders as realistically as possible.

The first officer on the scene during the drill says communication was the most important aspect of the drill.

Officer Arturo Vega said, “my thought was, I need to establish communication with, obviously dispatch, to let them know that I’m there. But secondly, as a school resource officer, I have access to the radio for the school, and we have access to every one of the schools through our radios.”

MSD said their camera system allowed law enforcement to track the shooters in the drill.

The district said they have facial recognition software built into each camera to help streamline the process.

MSD and law enforcement set up two command posts inside the school during the drill to monitor security cameras and communicate with emergency responders.

MPD Detective Chris Dode said, “the school command posts picked up on all of the officers faster than we ever could have imagined. We didn’t think they’d find all of them, but within in a minute I think they identified all four of them.”

The drill also included a simulated car crash that resulted in a fire next to the school.

MPD and Medford Fire said they had some delays in communication during parts of the drill, making it more difficult to get the right number of resources where they were needed.

Captain Chuck Glose said, “we can assign security to the fire department and they can come though and start hitting one room at a time. So they can lock down a room, treat as they’re available and give information to command, letting them know where patients are and how many casualties we can expect.”

Superintendent Champion says the part of the drill they struggled with most was the reunification process.

They planned to have parents pick up their kids at the school’s gym, but the students weren’t ready to be picked up when parents arrived.

MSD’s Executive Director of Security Ron Havniear said, “what we had happen is we were still processing students upstairs and then the parents side got opened up and then they were calling over saying this parent is ready for pickup and no one was even monitoring the radio. We weren’t even ready for it.”

MSD said HBO was also filming at the active shooter drill for a documentary on America’s response to school shootings.

The district said they will be featured in the documentary, which is scheduled to release in 2025.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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