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OUS to have police drills this week

If you see a police tactical unit storming the campus of Ohio University Southern on Monday, don’t be alarmed. It is just a drill similar to one held recently in Scioto County.

The four-day drill will have officers from the Ironton Police Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol doing preparedness exercises.

Bill Willan, interim dean at Ohio University Southern, said that in early June they met with neighbors to tell them of the forthcoming event.

“We alerted them so they shouldn’t be surprised by it,” he said.

Willan said he wasn’t aware of the campus ever having a gun-related situation and this exercise was a way of being prepared for something no one would want to see happen.

“But given today’s climate, preparedness is just a wise measure to take,” he said.

One scenario will be of a person with a gun on campus. The OSHP Special Response Team to simulate a crisis situation the law enforcement agencies may encounter. Sound and visual effects will be used to create a realistic environment.

Willan said the officers would be using paint ball guns and other devices to make it seem real. He added that after discussing the drill with the state patrol, it seemed like a wise idea because it would help not only local law agencies but faculty and staff to learn what they should do during and after a real situation.

The campus’s Dingus Technology Center will be closed 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday for the drill.

However, other activities on the Ohio University Southern campus will continue as scheduled, including classes and the Academy of Excellence.

OUS is warning parents and attendees to be aware that they might hear or see activities that are part of the training exercise but it is not a real crisis situation.

Evening scheduled events on the campus should not be affected.

On Thursday at 9 a.m., a classroom session will be open to area responders to help them learn how to handle a critical incident involving a direct threat or active shooter. The session is geared for school administrators, faculty, staff, emergency medical responders and fire departments and includes information to understand how law enforcement would respond in such a situation. The four-hour classroom session will be held in the Spriggs room in the Dingus Technology Center.