Officers to simulate ‘hostile environment’ at AHS

To the onlooker, it is going to look like chaos at Austin High School Wednesday afternoon, but it will only be a training exercise.

The Austin Police Department and Mower County Sheriff’s Office, along with numerous emergency responders from the area, will take over the school for the afternoon to simulate a “hostile environment.” Other agencies will include the Special Incident Response Team, Austin Fire Department, emergency officials from Adams, Lyle, Brownsdale, Grand Meadow and local EMS personnel.

Austin High School will release students at 12:55 p.m. Wednesday, and officers will set up their simulated environment at about 2 p.m. Most of the training will run from 4 to 8 p.m., according to Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger. The school will be closed to the public. Several students and faculty at AHS are participating in the simulation.

Sheriff Terese Amazi said one radio frequency will be dedicated to the training exercise, so people should be aware the event is a training exercise only. One dispatcher will announce every 10 to 15 minutes the event is only a simulation.

Local law enforcement officials perform such exercises about every two years, Amazi said, and have used local schools in the past. Krueger added it is only a coincidence the training is happening in the midst of national talks about gun violence and mass shootings.

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