WESTFIELD, NJ — In the wake of the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT, Westfield Police Chief David Wayman told TAP that last month three additional Westfield officers became certified as instructors who can train others for “active shooter scenarios.”
“I intend to have at least three more trained by year’s end,” said Wayman.
The Westfield PD uses its officers who have become certified instructors to train other officers in-house for active shooter scenarios.
“Every member of the police department has been trained in responding to not only active shooter situations but any situation which may arise in any of the schools within our jurisdiction,” said Wayman.
Recently, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office announced that it, along with County Association of Chiefs of Police, has redoubled efforts to ensure that officers are properly trained to respond to an active shooter incident.
In January, Wayman and Westfield Superintendent of Schools Dr. Margaret Dolan attended a Union County Superintendents Roundtable to discuss school safety and security. At that meeting, a comprehensive school security template to assist municipal police departments in the county was released. Departments and school administrators were also asked to assess areas that may be improved or enhanced within a facility’s physical security, in conjunction with the NJ School Security Task Force Best Practice plan. School administrators were also provided with a training video, created by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, that details a response to an active shooter situation.
Following that roundtable, in February representatives from the Westfield Public School District and the Emergency Services Unit of the Westfield Police Department participated in an active shooter drill at Westfield High School with the goal helping school officials understand what to expect when law enforcement responds to a threatening situation at a school.
Following an informative presentation, the school staff in attendance participated in exercises throughout the high school that included the use of Simunition non-lethal training ammunition, which added realism to the experience. The information gleaned from the three-hour experience was to be shared with all Westfield Public School administrators.
Before and after the day of the drill, “Dr. Dolan and I have been in constant communication regarding school security,” said Wayman. “We did a review of every school’s emergency preparedness plans and did a physical assessment of every school.”
Plans are constantly reviewed and enhanced as needed, according to Wayman. For both the police department and the board of education, “The safety of all the children in Westfield is a priority,” he told TAP.
Wayman also met with Westfield’s preschool directors and is in the process of working with them to assess their facilities.