The original item was published from July 7, 2016 9:29 AM to September 21, 2018 9:26 AM
Fireworks season has concluded, and we have respectfully honored the patriots who secured our country’s independence from King George’s tyranny over the American colonies. So, the week of active fireworks shooting is over until next year.
Unfortunately, at City Hall our attention now turns to a more somber task, that of preparing for someone with a gun to threaten the community by brandishing a weapon at a local government office and actively shooting.
We learned from the Hesston shooting at the Excel plant in February that an active shooter incident can occur in various places and for many reasons. We also know local governments have been targets of anti-government extremism around the country, and any City Hall is a symbol of government. We also see a fair number of people with mental illnesses in the community, so we have no expectation that the only people who might target a government building would be terrorists.
The City of Derby has put a policy in place to give employees direction on actions they are encouraged to take to protect themselves in the event an armed individual enters their building and threatens to do harm.
On Friday, July 8, between 1 and 2 p.m., Derby staff at the Senior Center, City Hall, and Welcome Center will participate in a training exercise involving an active shooter. The purpose is to give employees the opportunity to train in a non-life-threatening situation.
Derby police will serve as our shooters, and their gunshots will use blanks. I will join many other city employees in experiencing the shock of hearing gunshots in the lobby and determining in a split second how to react and what to do from our duty stations.
Neighbors of the city building will be notified in advance, since the noise will be disturbing. Sedgwick County Emergency Management and 9-1-1 dispatchers will participate with us in this exercise. If you see on Facebook or other social media that something terrible is happening at City Hall, don’t fall for it. Rest assured if something other than the exercise occurs, a City spokesperson will notify local news.
Neither the training exercise nor this column are meant to upset anyone, but getting upset would be an understandable reaction. Our purpose is to be prepared and save lives when possible.
Published in the Derby Informer
on July 6, 2016.