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This is only a test

Aspen Times Staff

The Basalt Police Department is trying to make sure no one freaks out over a drill at the high school today.Eight members of the police force will respond to an “emergency call” of shots fired and a student injured, according to Penny Paxton, the school resource officer for the department.High school teachers and administrators will go into “lockdown” as part of the drill. That kicks off a series of events starting with teachers locking their doors, turning off lights and getting students onto the floor and as out of sight as possible.Officers will respond wearing helmets, goggles and tactical vests and carrying rifles. Patrol Sgt. Mark Langford said safety is paramount, so firearms will be unloaded and equipped with gunlocks.Langford said the officers will sweep the school shortly after the 2:30 p.m. call and learn that a male student had been bragging about his dad’s new gun and brought it to school. The gun accidentally discharged and shot the handler in the leg.The drill will be over by 3 p.m. It won’t interfere with traffic to and from the school. Parents can still use the parking lot to pick up their kids, Paxton said.Students will know of the drill in advance, and the school will place recorded telephone messages to all high school parents. Inevitably, someone won’t get the message, Paxton said. So officials are trying other methods to get the word out.The drill will allow the department to practice procedures and a command system for crises ranging from fires to Columbine-style shooting rampages, Paxton said. The training is important even though “not a lot happens here, which is a good thing,” Paxton said.Any parent with questions or concerns about the drill can call Paxton before today’s event at the school, 384-5953, or at the police department, 927-4316.


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