ALICE drill at Colo-Nesco earlier this month showed great readiness for a real threat

Trinity BarkerContributing Writer
ALICE drill at Colo-Nesco earlier this month showed great readiness for a real threat

At around 8:30 a.m., Thursday, May 5, students and faculty in Colo-Nesco were startled by a surprise ALICE drill (as if an intruder had actually come into the building) and forced to evacuate the school.

In short, an ALICE training is when a school works with the local law enforcement on intruder situations. In this drill, an “active shooter” infiltrated the building to test how well everyone would respond to the situation. To gauge exactly how well Colo-Nesco would do, only the administration knew about the drill prior to the event.

When the drill began, two sheriff’s deputies, one in a normal uniform, the other in full protective gear, stormed through the front doors and into the hallways. Immediately after their entry, an announcement was placed through the intercom informing the students of the intruder and giving them time to either evacuate and/or barricade the doors, something that would be done in the event of a serious invasion. Video footage of the hallways and use of the intercom allowed the staff in the main office to broadcast the location of the invader at all times. The officers proceeded to check all the rooms in the school, and, due to the quick actions of everyone, found minimal potential “victims” if any at all.

Sgt. Nick Lennie, one of the deputies involved, noted that the school was fully evacuated in less than one minute. Once outside the school, students and faculty hurried to the Methodist Church to wait things out.

Two years ago, the school had held another ALICE Drill, working through some of the difficulties, and this year everybody had a little better idea of how to handle the situation.

“I think our communication was much better,” said Dr. Jim Verlengia, superintendent, when asked how he thought everything went. He also noted that the teachers really stepped up and focused on student safety.

Communication, it seemed, is what allowed everything to go so smoothly. Sgt. Lennie even spoke about the great amount of communication, not only the teachers but the students as well. That was included in his assembly speech immediately following the drill. As far as critiques go, Lennie could not come up with a single one.

Thanks to the quick actions and wonderful communication shown by all involved, Colo-Nesco’s surprise ALICE drill proved exactly how prepared the school would be in the face of a real threat.