In partnership with local and county first responders, the Ivy Tech Community College Valparaiso campus, located at 3100 Ivy Tech Drive, will host a full scale active threat response exercise on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The exercise will involve a simulated active shooter incident and its resultant response from police, fire, and emergency responders. Over 50 college employees and students, along with volunteers from various community organizations, will participate as role players in the event.
The exercise is to be carried out from the initial 911 call, where police are notified of the incident, and end with the clearing of the building and eventual reunification of students and staff.
“For any community, it is imperative to be prepared to respond to these kinds of situations to the highest level of readiness,” said Aco Sikoski, Chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Valparaiso campus. “There are many agencies available in our community, and it’s expected for all to respond and provide coordinated support. We hope that this exercise will confirm the strengths and reveal areas for improvement.”
“This is an important opportunity for police, fire, emergency medical services, 911 dispatch, and emergency management to practice their response in a simulated scenario at Ivy Tech,” said Jonathon Barefoot, Executive Director of Statewide Safety and Security for Ivy Tech.
According to Sgt. Joe Hall, Commander of Support Services for the Valparaiso Police Department, the department has been increasing its training regarding active aggression incidents over the past few years; this will be the first full scale exercise of this nature for Valpo PD. “We have further partnered with the Valparaiso Fire Department and Porter County Sheriff’s Department to ensure a better understanding of our response and rescue operations in these incidents,” Hall said. “This exercise will be an excellent test of those skills and how they can be applied, specifically, as the responders will not know the details of the exercise.”
The Porter County Emergency Response Team (ERT) will be among the local groups of first responders participating along with other volunteers from the Sheriff's Office. “The exercise plays a vital role in preparing for an active killer,” said Cpl. Benjamin McFalls, Porter County Sheriff PIO. “It will aid students and staff for what can be expected from law enforcement and ERT responding to the scene. In addition, it allows officers to learn and work through issues that arise when dealing with this type of situation.”
In the wake of mass shootings across the country, many find it imperative to practice these procedures in order to apply them in other schools and businesses while seeking areas of improvement. “Full scale exercises are less about outcomes and more about the process,” Barefoot said. “We conduct a formal review with all of the agencies involved to make sure that we all learn from this exercise.”
The campus and Ivy Tech Drive will be closed for the duration of the exercise, which is expected to conclude by 4:00 p.m. Only authorized personnel and media will be granted access to the campus.