WILMINGTON — An “active aggressor” exercise is scheduled to take place at Wilmington High School on the morning of Wednesday, August 10.
It will include multiple first-response agencies throughout Clinton County and will implement rescue task force (RTF) tactics between law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, according to a news release from the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
“Sadly, we have seen an increase in active shooter incidents over the last several years,” said Wilmington Police Chief Ron Fithen. “According to FBI statistics, there was nearly a 53 percent increase between 2020 and 2021 and, with incidents like Highland Park, Illinois, Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, it is a persistent topic on the news and a prime concern for first responders.
”It is the law enforcement agency’s responsibility to stay current on trends and training,” Fithen continued. “The Wilmington Police Department is committed to working with its partners to protect schools, workplaces, houses of worship, transportation centers, other public gathering sites, and communities.”
Wilmington School District Operations Manager Curt Bone said, “The active aggressor exercise will enable the district to review its emergency plans, identify additional training, and refine school safety measures to help keep our students and teachers safe in the event of an incident.”
“RTF operations is not a new concept and, fortunately, we have not needed to execute it in the county,” said Wilmington Fire & EMS Chief Andy Mason. “But the troubling trend we are seeing nationwide is less of ‘if’ and more of ‘when’ something like this might happen in a community. We are doing our due diligence to ensure our responders are able to work with one another to quickly respond, resolve, and rescue those impacted with an armed attacker.”
Clinton Memorial Hospital will leverage the exercise to conduct a tandem in-house exercise for their emergency department staff for a similar type of emergency.
The exercise is coordinated and funded by the Clinton County EMA.
EMA intends to rotate it annually amongst the county school districts before the start of the school year, and to conduct a similar event each January with local business partners