Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Easthampton police to conduct drills in old high school

Police will be in the high school, where teachers and students had their final day April 12, the day before April vacation. Staff, teachers and students will be in their new quarters Tuesday.

Meanwhile, police will run drills at the formers high school from 5 to 9 p.m. tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Police Chief Bruce McMahon said the department does these drills annually, but usually uses the empty mill buildings around the city. “This is the first time we can do it in a school,” he said.

He said officers will practice storming a school with a shooter or intruder inside using large ballistic shields and guns loaded with “simunitions,” a kind of rubber tipped bullet that resembles a small paint ball.

“An officer will hold the shield up in front of him and the other officers will stack up behind the shield and then they’ll enter the rooms,” he said.

“Later, we’ll put bad guys in the rooms, who will be played by other officers,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll be armed, sometimes they won’t be.”

McMahon said he does not expect neighbors to be able to here the simunitions being fired, but he said neighbors should not be alarmed if they see flashlights in the school or cruisers parked outside tonight through Wednesday.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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