Midlothian Agencies Conduct Full-Scale Active Shooter Drill on School Bus

Police officer and two men
Left to Right: Tim Hicks, SRO Commander/MISD Director of Safety & Security Midlothian Asst. Police Chief Scott Brown Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman

MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian Police Department worked in partnership with the Midlothian Fire Department, Midlothian ISD, City of Midlothian staff, Methodist Hospital, and
Raptor Technologies on a full-scale City of Midlothian “Active Shooter on a School Bus Full Scale Exercise” last week.

Observers included the Texas Education Agency, Arlington ISD, Midlothian officials, and staff.

The exercise was held at Franke Seale Middle School last Friday, and temporary road closures were implemented to coordinate the training event.

The training is conducted on a full scale once a year, but additional smaller-scale training is also done quarterly.

Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith said, “The value of doing this for our school administration and our first responders is not only just responding to an event, but then the reunification, which is a big issue for the school itself and then providing that confident response to our parents.”

Smith said he believed it was also beneficial for the community to drive by and see law enforcement and fire rescue conducting training exercises that pertain to events in other parts of the country for which Midlothian is trained if needed.

“We want to be aware in case something like this kicks off,” Smith explained. “Tim Hicks, our commander over the SRO program, he and Tanya Hunter, the Emergency Management Manager, have been almost militant in getting the school district and our city ready for a variety of disasters, manmade or weather related.”

The Midlothian ISD does not have its own police; the Midlothian PD functions in that capacity, with dedicated officers working in the school districts.

With this in mind, Smith said, “Our relationship with the school district is one to be emulated throughout the state with Tim Hicks also performing as the school’s Safety Security Director.”

Smith said the PD’s response to safety and security is key to success in the partnership, and his department has a direct line to the superintendent’s office, so everyone is “in lockstep when it comes to how we operate.”

As for the training, much care was taken in the reenactment to emulate a full-scale event on an ISD campus.

There were two training exercises with an active shooter, and children were moved from school buses and taken to the reunification at the stadium to be reunited with parents.
The second training exercise also included taking the reenactment victims to Methodist Hospital.

Regarding the most critical process of reuniting students with their parents in such an emergency, Midlothian would use Raptor for parent and student reunification. In that scenario, setting up a perimeter and assuring proper identification among children and parents would also be important. Raptor’s software helps eliminate chaotic reunifications and reunifies students up to 4x faster than paper and pencil methods.

Safety is becoming increasingly intricate and necessary in schools throughout the country these days. Midlothian Assistant Police Chief Scott Brown said, “It is unfortunate that there is a need for this type of training, but the reality is this is the world we live in today. Fortunately, we serve a community that supports us and helps provide the resources that allow us to train here on our campuses.”

Brown also emphasized the strong partnership the police department and school district share and the partnership with Methodist Hospital.

“The opportunity for all of these entities to come together as a team and learn from these drills will make our community safer,” Brown added. “As a police administrator – and as a parent – I hope and pray we never experience anything like this here, but if we do, we will be better prepared to handle it if we test our capabilities through training and practice.”

Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman was also on hand to observe the early morning training exercise.

After the morning’s exercises, he said, “I was grateful to have the opportunity to observe the recent police training event. It was eye-opening to witness the proactive efforts coordinated between MPD, MFD, MISD, Methodist Hospital, and city staff. Training exercises like these keep our first responders sharp and prepared should the worst of situations arise.”

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