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Lehigh Valley

Palmer Twp. supervisors pleased with "Active Shooter Drill"

PALMER TWP., Pa. - Tuesday night's Palmer Township Board of Supervisors' meeting involved a little more than just passing ordinances.

Supervisors heard a report and saw hundreds of photos from an event that no one in the township hopes will ever become a reality.

On June 16th, five police departments staged what they called an "active shooter drill" at the Easton Area Academy.

The exercise was performed to sharpen responders' skills, knowledge and timing.

"The drill went very well," according to township Police Chief Larry Palmer. "Easton, Wilson, Palmer, Forks and Easton Area School District participated, also our fire company, suburban EMS and also Northampton County Emergency Management participated."

But they weren't the only ones involved. Someone had to play bystanders and victims and a total of 51 teachers and staff of the academy more than got into the spirit during the scenario.

It is hoped that drill will help officials to hone their techniques to find and quickly stop a shooter as soon as possible.

Everything that day went off without a hitch, well, almost.

"We went a little overboard with the smoke machine," Palmer noted with a chuckle. "We didn't think it was going to create that much smoke...I have to say it was great training as it set the alarm off. We had that noise distraction. Our guys had to use hand signals to relay messages. Quite frankly it worked out very well."

Palmer added that the entities involved will have a "critique" to make an honest appraisal of what went right and what went wrong during the exercise.

And there will be another chance to work on what didn't quite work out right when they hold a second active shooter drill on August 24th, this time at the Palmer Park Mall.

The mall presents a much different challenge to law enforcement, fire and emergency management officials, as the building is "five times the size" of the Academy's facility.

"I hate to use the word "kudos" but, kudos to you chief," said Board President David Colver in praising the work Palmer, his staff and all the bodies in attendance and volunteers did that day.

In other business, supervisors adopted four ordinances, including the establishment of the Palmer Township Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which replaces the township's Recreation Board.

The directors then formally appointed the members of the disbanded recreation board to become members of the newly established Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

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