Over 30 agencies participate in large-scale active shooter drill in Medford

MEDFORD, Ore. – A large-scale active shooter drill taking place at Oakdale Middle School Thursday.

Hundreds of people participated including volunteers acting as parents and students, as if it were the real thing.

Champion: “It is a tragedy that an event of this nature is needed,” Medford School District superintendent Dr. Bret Champion said.

Champion calling it the largest active shooter drill in the state of Oregon.

But it’s not something the district wanted to do, he said they had to do it.

“The reality is this is where we are in this country, where we are right now in this valley,” Champion said. “And I make no apologies for the event that we just did together.”

The event was spearheaded by MSD’s Ron Havniear and planning began last fall.

The goal was the replicate a real-life event, involving over 30 local agencies.

“This was a multiple shooter situation,” Havniear said. “It was complicated. And there was also 30 causalities that were transported to both hospitals that had to be triaged and moved and figured out where those casualty collection points end up at and how do we move them those distances.”

Over 400 people took part in the drill.

Superintendent Champion said it’s vital everyone involved learns from this experience and feels the magnitude of the event.

“We built muscle memory about what it looks like when you hear an ERB button pushed and what that sounds like when you’re on the outside,” Champion said. “We built the awareness of watching Officer Vega come up this walkway outside with a singular purpose, to prevent tragedy from happening.”

Agencies like Medford Fire, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Mercy Flights and Medford Police played key parts in the drill.

Those playing the role of victims were transported to local hospitals or flown out by helicopter.

Medford Police chief Justin Ivens said not everything went according to plan.

“Not everything went perfect and that is truly what is going to happen in a real world incident,” Chief Ivens said. “We had communication problems with our radios, we worked through it. The re-unification process is going to be difficult, that’s the way it’s going to be in real life.”

Perhaps the most critical part of the four hour operation was re-unifying parents and students after the active shooter drill un-folded.

Parents waited by gates, asking to see their children.

Their kids waited in the school’s gym, as school officials worked to match names together to re-unite everyone.

It’s one of many processes that Havniear said will be looked at and studied over the next few months.

“The weeks to come we’ll draw all those lessons out,” he said. “I think big picture communications is something we can talk about all day long. But until we get out there and do it, it’s just challenging in nature. I think the more we can practice that, the better.”

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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