Mock School Lockdown in Odessa Tests Officers Preparedness

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- The Ector County Independent School District ratcheted up it's training efforts before the upcoming school year. District and Odessa Police tested their response time during a mock lock down on Monday.

"We've got to test our ability to communicate and cooperate with other agencies," Lt. Mark Rowden with the district police said standing near the city's mobile command unit.

Tackling a threat on campus is a coordinated effort. Every action by police officers is synchronized as a part of a procedure set into motion but instead of leaving plans to chance during a real threat, officials test the system in an annual drill. Police simulated a hostage situation at Bowie Junior High School in order to work out any kinks in the system over the wanning summer break.

"While you can do that in a drill and prepare for it on paper. It's a little different when it actually happens." ECISD Public Information Officer, Mike Adkins, said the drill is made to feel as realistic as possible.

Police set up a command post at 19th and Washington in Odessa.

"We want to make sure we get rmation from the mobile command post and that it's accurate, actual and then we're going to turn it around to you right away," Adkins said.

It's was only a training exercise but NewsWest 9 and other media outlets were a part of the process. During a real emergency, NewsWest 9 would be there broadcasting the vital information live.

"Not only are we evaluating. It's practice for us too but if we don't know it's broken we can't fix it," Lt. Rowden said.

Over the next few weeks, officials plan to evaluate the response and fine tune any weak points in their plans and procedures.

"Even if it's a small town, you know you can't really predict what will happen here," Ruth Bullis said. "I see it as something cool because the way things are going now you never can really tell when things are going to happen."