The campus of Midway College was swarming with police and military personnel Wednesday, but the emergency there wasn't real. It was all simulated for training purposes.
If an act of terrorism should occur on a campus in Kentucky, the training exercises at Midway will help to insure that first responders and national guardsmen would be well prepared.
Brig. Gen. John Heltzel, Kentucky's Director of Emergency Management, tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "We're trying to learn as many lessons as we can in advance. We'd like to think that shooters on campus is something we wouldn't have to deal with, but national trends and statistics say we've got to be prepared, and it's just been a great experience bringing together all of our partners in first response."
Officers from the Versailles Police Department played a major role in the exercises on Wednesday, and Heltzel was grateful for the attitude they brought to it. "They really took advantage of this opportunity. Some people don't like to be tested, but they didn't shy away from it."
A spokesman for the Versailles Police, Officer Pat Melton, explains, "It just puts us ahead of the game and gets us in the required response mode."
It's fitting the training exercises would be conducted at Midway College because Midway was the first school in Kentucky to offer an undergraduate degree in Homeland Security Management. Midway College President William Drake Jr. states proudly, "We began planning that degree about 5 years ago with the help of some of the friends who are taking part in these exercises so, God forbid, if terrorism were to come here, this campus would be about as safe as any school could be."
More than 80 Kentucky National Guard troops and 170 responders from other state and local agencies are taking part in the exercises which continue on Thursday.