T he call rang out shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Monday morning: An armed assailant had enter Granville High School and was holding a staff member hostage.
A standoff with the Washington County Sheriff ’s Department’s Special Emergency Response Team and officers from the Granville Police Department ensued and after several tense moments the gunman was taken into custody without anyone being harmed.
Although the assailant was carrying a plastic gun and was actually a member of school’s staff, police responded to the school as if the scenario were real.
Nearly two dozen officers participated in the “active shooter” drill, which was held before dismissal on Monday.
“It was a quick in and out scenario. There was no contact with students. We worked with staff and were in and out in 15 minutes,” Officer Jeff Tucker of the sheriff’s department said.
On Monday, shortly after the school went into lockdown officers, dressed in full SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) gear—camouflage fatigues, body armor, helmets, eye protection and assault rifles—stormed the building.
The unit methodically made its way through the hallways, securing the hallways as it went down the corridor to the Quaker Street entrance at the front of the school.
Once the assailant was located, a hostage negotiator arranged to have one staff member realized. Unable to convince the suspect of additional concessions, officers stormed the room and took her into custody.
The scenario built upon exercises that were held at the school last spring and similar drills were held at Mary J. Tanner and the Granville Elementary School earlier in the day.
Besides a chance for officers to refine their training, the exercise was also an opportunity for faculty at the school to review what to do during a lock down
“We’re also here to support and work with the local department since obviously they would be the first ones to respond,” Tucker said, praising the local department and school faculty for their cooperation with the training.
Tucker said officers evaluated lock down procedures at both the elementary school and Mary J. Tanner and offered suggestions how they could improve the lock down.
He said officers have now held exercises at every school in Washington County with the exception of Greenwich and Putnam.
“It’s a chance to familiarize ourselves with the schools if anything did happen,” Tucker said.