LA VETA— It helps when you know when and where the news is going to happen. The HWJ was given advance warning of an ‘active shooter’ drill to be held at the La Veta schools last Thursday, and so showed up, camera in hand, to follow the Huerfano County Sheriff, his deputies and a Colorado State Trooper as they secured the school complex and evacuated students and staff to the 4-H barn, where parents were allowed to pick up their children. By the end of the drill, two ‘intruders’ were located and arrested. Those playing the part of intruders at no time had even fake weapons, and no one was ‘shot’ during the exercise. Only five RE-2 staff members were informed ahead of time to the extent and realism of the
drill. According to Diego Bobian, director of the Huerfano County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), “I believe the exercise tested more than just our (responders) capabilities, it also tested the staff, students and parents of RE-2. Every exercise or drill should always have hiccups. As the emergency manager for the county and my experience organizing trainings, I believe that the more hiccups there are, the more the drill is a success. That provides certain areas that need attention. It is best to work on the issues during and after a drill rather than entering blind during a real disaster. The issues we encountered that need work is something that we will continue to focus on. Kudos to the staff for using their training to keep the parent/child reunification portion organized and successful.” There were participants from the the Sheriff’s Department, OEM, the Colorado State Patrol, the La Veta fire Protection District, RE-2 staff and students, a staff member from RE-1 who assisted as an evaluator, and two community volunteers.