Warren Sgt. Dan Gleeson and Officer Bryan Horst are also members of Somerset County SWAT and led the exercises on Sunday.
“We are two, maybe three minutes away, “ Gleeson said. “All of our officers are trained to enter the building . There’s no longer a mandate to try to negotiate with an active shooter. The mandate is to do what’s necessary to neutralize him to prevent further injuries and deaths.”
The Warren Township Police Department, in cooperation with Watchung Hills Regional High School, is “committed to providing the high school with a safe learning environment” and has had a full time uniformed School Resource Officer (SRO) in the high school while classes are in session since 2007.
The SRO serves as a counselor, role model, and advocate for students, families, faculty, and staff. The SRO is a recognized and approachable resource for students and faculty during and after school, at school events and when needed at the Warren Township public schools.
SRO Ofc. Joseph Casorio can be contacted at 908-753-1000 x414 or 908-647-4800 x4807 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Casorio tweeted on Saturday, “Warren Police will be conducting training exercises at Watchung Hills Reg. HS tomorrow (March 4) and next Sunday March 11. If you see multiple police cars at the school, don’t be alarmed.”
The WHRHS Director of Security and Student Safety Chris Shea sent a letter alerting parents and students on Thursday, Mar. 1 included in the Warrior Weekly. Shea also informed parents and students of new drop off protocols to take effect on Monday, Mar. 5.
Goals of the SRO program are to:
- Create and maintain a safe, secure, and orderly learning environment for students, parents, and teachers
- Bridge the gap between law enforcement and students and to increase positive attitudes toward law enforcement
- Educate students in topics such as drivers education, drug and alcohol abuse, and sound and logical decision making
- Provide support and training for school staff on issues of juvenile law and school safety
- Protect students and faculty from intruders, conduct criminal investigations, and handle any police related matters that may arise.
In an emergency, dial 911
For civilians, the main message is RUN, HIDE, FIGHT. At the first sign of trouble, civilians are urged to get to a place of relative safety, lock and barricade doors, turn off lights and stay quiet, escape if possible and call 911.