Training, Communication Leads to Quick Police Response Following Campus Shooting

Training, Communication Leads to Quick Police Response Following Campus Shooting

An Anchorage elementary school relied on their emergency training following a shooting on campus.

Security training, communication policies and a quick response from police helped last week's shooting outside an Anchorage elementary school have about as good an outcome as there could have been, school district officials told local news station KTUU.

Last week, a 26-year-old man was arrested outside Denali Montessori Elementary School in downtown Anchorage. After the suspect dropped off a child at the school, he walked back to his vehicle were he reportedly shot the passenger in the upper body. 

The victim ran towards the schools and was able to enter the first set of doors, but staff in the school quickly reacted to what was happening and automatically locked the interior doors of the school.

The school says they were on lockdown within seconds of staff hearing the shot ring out in the packing lot.

Ashley Lally, the Anchorage School District’s director of security and emergency preparedness says the school is equipped with cameras that can be viewed from the school office. In this case, drop-off for preschool students was still underway when the shooting occurred, but the staff was able to lock the doors from the office.

“This is what we train for,” said MJ Thim, a spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department. He says the call came in at 9:31 a.m. and an officer was at the school by 9:33. A shooting at a school becomes the highest priority, Thim said.

"Situations like this, it's all-hands-on-deck," Thim said. "So we flood the area with as many officers as are available, including off-duty."

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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