First responders to stage mock incident drill at ASU Aug. 12


The Adams State University campus will be the site of a mock incident drill Wednesday morning, August 12, from approximately 7 to 9 a.m.

"This is a joint training exercise to allow the university, hospital, and first responders to test all our personnel and systems," explained Adams State Chief of Police Paul Grohowski. "The exercise will help us to identify deficits in procedures and improve them, and to enhance our communication and collaboration with our partners."

Drill participants will include the Adams State Police Department and university staff, SLV Health and area ambulance services, the Alamosa Police Department, Alamosa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol, and the Alamosa Fire Department. "All normal law enforcement services will continue to be provided throughout the training exercise," Grohowski noted.

"We want to get the word out that this is a mock incident, so that no one mistakes it for actual emergency," said Ken Marquez, Adams State vice president for Student Affairs. "It may be terrible to imagine, but we know all too well an event like this can happen anywhere. By practicing, we can look at all aspects of the situation in a controlled setting. It's become very clear with churches, military bases, elementary schools and theaters -- all recent sites of violence -- that we have to be more vigilant in our readiness for this type of incident."

Last fall, a drunk driver auto accident was staged on campus for first responder training.

During the drill, a group of Adams State students and resident assistants will portray victims of a mass casualty shooting in one of the campus residence halls. They will be prepped by SLV Health staff with scripted injuries and how to respond to first responders.

Police, fire, and emergency vehicles will use emergency lights and sirens as they travel down Monterey Ave. and First St. The roads will remain open to local traffic, however.

NO ACTUAL WEAPONS WILL BE USED, but simulated gunshots may be heard. Blue simmunition guns, which fire paint rounds, will be used during the drill, according to Grohowski.

One purpose of the exercise is to allow SLV Health to test its triage response to a mass casualty incident from a medical perspective. The SLV Health Center will perform an emergency lock down procedure and will be assisted by Colorado State Patrol troopers to secure the facility.

"The primary mission for law enforcement is to neutralize the threat to students, to contain the incident/crime scene, and to assist medical evacuation of the victims," Growhowski said.

Following resolution of the mock incident, all involved will take part in a debriefing session. Campus counselors will be available to participants, as well.

Grohowski said, "This will be an important learning exercise. It is better to make mistakes now and iron out our weaknesses, so we will be better prepared should an actual incident of this type occur."

Questions or concerns about the mock incident drill may be directed to the Adams State University Police Department: 719-587-7901.

By Julie Waechter