OU BOCES Emergency Planning Technician Duane Lopez presents active shooter response tactics to over 200 school administrators and personnel at the Orange County Emergency Operations Center.
The Orange-Ulster BOCES hosted an Active Shooter Hostile Event training day on November 8, 2022, at their Amy Bull Crist Campus in Goshen. This initiative represents a partnership between the BOCES, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police.
Every school district in Orange County had representatives at the event, as well as the Marlboro School District who is a component member of OU BOCES and located in Ulster County. Law enforcement agencies including New York State Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Monroe Police, City of Middletown Police, Washingtonville Police Department, New Windsor Police Department and the Town of Goshen Police Department collaborated for several months planning this exercise that simulated an active shooter event at a school building. Various other police agencies also participated in the exercise, under the direction of the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County. Several fire and EMS units from throughout the County were also at the event. Additional agencies involved in the planning of the exercise included the Orange County Office of Emergency Management, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the Orange County Department of Emergency Services.
The morning began with an in-depth training for over 200 school administrators and personnel that was held at the Orange County Emergency Operations Center. The training was facilitated by Duane Lopez, OU BOCES Emergency Planning Technician and an expert is his field, who has over 20 years of experience specializing in school safety, incident management and operational planning.
Following the morning training session, school personnel were invited to the Orange-Ulster BOCES Amy Bull Crist Campus where law enforcement and various support agencies had been training throughout the morning under the direction of Assistant Undersheriff Anthony Weed. At approximately 1:30pm, the Active Shooter Hostile Event live scenario began which tested the collaboration between agencies and schools. The drill was directed through a collaboration of agencies at a mock Incident Command Post near the site of the exercise.
“This type of training event is unprecedented in that we had every school district represented. The law enforcement coordination we witnessed is commendable and I certainly applaud all of the agencies for making this work in such a short time. This type of exercise is vital for schools to continue to be able to interface with the many agencies who will come to their aid in the event of a mass casualty incident, “ said William Hecht, Chief Operating Officer for Orange-Ulster BOCES.
The Orange-Ulster BOCES Department of Health and Safety continues to serve the needs of their component school districts and prioritizes training opportunities in areas like response to active shooter and hostile events. The Department also provides site assessments and school safety plan reviews as well as a host of other health and safety related inspections and services.