'Active shooter' training takes place in Kane schools

Photo by Ted Lutz — Carrying an assault rifle, State Police Trooper Lee Palmer prepares to lead a State Police Special Emergency Response Team during an "active shooter" drill Monday in the Kane schools. The troopers include, front to back: Palmer, Ridgway base; Chad Ryen, Clearfield; Zachary Beers, Ridgway; and Matthew Gordon, Clearfield.
Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

More than 25 police officers took part Monday in "active shooter" training in the Kane Elementary School, the Kane Middle School, and Kane Area High School.
Most of the participants are members of State Police Troop "C" based in Punxsutawney. This unit includes troopers from State Police stations in Kane, Ridgway, Marienville, DuBois, Clarion, Clearfield and Punxsutawney.
Trooper Bruce Morris, the area State Police community services officer based in Ridgway, said Troop "C" is required to conduct annual "active shooter" drills.
The Kane Area School District hosted the training Monday when students weren't in school due to a scheduled teachers' in-service day.
It's the first time the annual "active shooter" training has been held in Kane.
"This is a great opportunity for State Police and law enforcement to be in our school district," Kane Mayor Brandy Schimp said. Her husband — Corporal Lance Schimp — was one of the participants in the training.
He said the drill by the State Police Special Emergency Response Team is  "intended to better prepare law enforcement officers to respond to 'active shooter' threats." 
Jeff Kepler, superintendent of the Kane Area School District, said the "active shooter" training presented a "great opportunity" for State Police to become familiar with the Kane school buildings.
Sgt. Mary Gausman, the commander at the State Police station on Route 219 near Lantz Corners, praised the school district for making its facilities available for the drill.
"The training is as much for the school as it is for us," Gausman said.
Kane Police Chief Heath Boyer and Kane Borough Police Officers Derrick Snyder and Bill Nichols also took part in the training.
The realistic drill created a bone-chilling atmosphere inside the schools as law enforcement officers tracked down the "bad actors" and exchanged fire with "soap bullets."
The familiar yellow "police tape" was used to cordon off sections of the schools during the six-hour training session.
As part of their in-service day program, teachers gathered Monday morning in the middle school auditorium to view a "power point" presentation and hear a talk by Morris.
In his informative message, Morris said "it's a sad commentary" that "active shooter" training needs to be held in the first place.
He told the teachers they must "be aware" of malicious comments made by students.
"Rumblings are there," Morris said. "You guys are hearing it. You see the bullying."
He urged the teachers to be "observant" and "vigilant."

For full article, check the Jan. 22, 2019 printed or e-edition of The Kane Republican