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Schools have historically held fire and tornado drills throughout the year to prepare students and staff alike to react quickly in the event of calamity. In recent years, school shootings like those at Columbine High School in Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut have prompted state officials to mandate that schools conduct “shooter drills” in conjunction with law enforcement.
Burbank Police will be assisting two local schools this week in preparing for the worse case scenario, an active shooter within the building. Drills are planned for Reavis High School on Tuesday, March 4th and Tobin Elementary School on Wednesday, March 5th.
Division Chief Mike Dudlo said “The purpose of the drill is for the schools and Law Enforcement to comply with the State Statute (Public Act 094-0600 aka ‘The School Safety Drill Act’). The purpose of the Act is to establish minimum requirements and standards for schools' emergency and crisis response plans.”
A letter dated Feb. 28, 2014 from the Burbank Police Department was distributed this week to some residents living near Tobin School informing them that the police will be conducting a “school safety drill” on Wednesday. Tobin is located at 8501 Narragansett Ave. The drill is scheduled to begin about 2:45 p.m. and conclude by 4:00 p.m.
The letter advises that “There will be a substantial police presence in the area due to police department personnel being directly involved in the drill.”
Dudlo said, “We have assisted the Burbank school districts and local schools with several of these types of drills this school year.”
It is unclear whether students will be participating directly in the upcoming drills. Student volunteers have taken part in some past school exercises. It is likely that Tobin faculty will have some roll in Wednesday’s shooter drill; School District 111’s website indicates there will be a “staff meeting” on Mar. 5 at Tobin between 2:45 and 5:00 p.m.
Last August, Oak Lawn officials conducted a full-scale “active shooter” drill at Oak Lawn High School. According to an Oak Lawn Patch article, the training exercise, was one of the largest multi-agency drills in the state, designed to test the response capabilities of local first responders during a mass casualty/active shooter event.
The Oak Lawn exercise included first responders from Burbank and more than 30 other suburban police and fire departments, and over 100 recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Station that portrayed shooting victims.
Burbank Police say that any questions or issues regarding the school safety drills should be directed to Lieutenant Thielen or Lieutenant Shore at (708) 924-7300.