Lehigh Valley

Palmer Township prepares for 'active shooter' in exercise for police

Drill will simulate gunman inside a school

PALMER TWP., Pa. - Four area police departments will stage a drill next week in Palmer Township, Northampton County, for something they hope never happens โ€“ a gunman inside a school.

The drill will include police officers from Palmer and Forks townships, Easton and Wilson, as well as security from the Easton Area School District, said Chief Larry Palmer, Palmer Police Department.

The "active shooter" drill will be held at the Easton Area Academy on Edgewood Avenue on Monday, an in-service day for teachers but no school for students., Palmer said.

The teachers will be dressed up to look like victims, he said.

The exercises are intended to make sure all the officers, regardless of their departments, employ "the same techniques," Palmer said.

Following the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, Palmer said police have refined their methods when arriving at the scene of an "active shooter."

Unlike Columbine, police are now trained to head directly for the shooter and stop the shooting as fast as possible.

That directive applies to whoever is the first person at the scene, whether it's the police chief or a patrolman, Palmer said.

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