(CAMERON, Mo.) Gunshots could be heard ringing through the halls of Cameron Intermediate School as law enforcement, faculty and staff learned how to best respond to an active shooter situation.
The annual armed gunman training took place at two school buildings, Cameron Intermediate and Cameron Veterans Middle School, Wednesday morning.
“We do take safety very, very seriously at Cameron and, like I said, I just appreciate all the inner agency work that went on to make sure that our kids and our community stay safe,” Dr. Matt Robinson, District Superintendent, said.
Officers from the Cameron Police Department, Clinton and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Offices, Missouri State Highway Patrol, district EMS and district fire were involved in the training.
Cameron Police Chief Rick Bashor said the department coordinates with the school district to conduct the intensive training exercise each year.
“We get all of the department heads together and the fire chiefs and go over what we went over last year and what we want to change this year,” Bashor said. “If there’s something that maybe we weren’t able to work completely 100 percent on last year, we wanted to make sure it was in the scenarios this year.”
The police chief added that communication between the different agencies was a major focus for the department during this year’s training, and something they wanted to fix from the previous year.
“Every time we work on these, there’s always something that we’re going to find, whether it’s our radios, communications - our dispatch center did phenomenal today, but it was just getting everybody involved,” Bashor said. “We can go back and start having debriefs with each group to see what we can do better next year.”
The training began with a scenario, which Bashor said was a single armed-gunman entering the school building, going up and down the halls firing shots. During the simulation, the gunman killed two people and injured 10 others.
“Our officers are trying to go [in the building] immediately to stop the threat, and then it’s working with inside communications with other law enforcement coming in and then also then having the ambulances come in to do their jobs,” Bashor said, in response to the protocol for a situation like this.
This was the district’s second year hosting the active-shooter training. Robinson said the students weren’t involved because the training may have been rough for them.
“We kind of feel like this is very intensive, and so we’ve actually got gunfire going off in the buildings and different blank rounds - I mean obviously they’re blanks, but we kind of feel that’s a situation we don’t want to put our kids in unless we actually have to,” Robinson said.
However, Robinson said the kids are put through several intruder and lock-down drills throughout the school years.
He added the training was more geared towards the officers and the district’s faculty and staff. The educators were taught how to best respond in order to keep themselves and their students safe.
“That’s kind of the intent of all this, is if we can reduce the stigma of what’s going to happen that when it does happen or, God forbid it does, the teachers are more prepared for it,” Robinson said.
The Cameron Police Department said they conduct the active shooter training for area businesses. If you’re interested, contact the department.