Missouri Military Academy hosts active-fire exercise
EDITOR’S NOTE: A misspelled name has been corrected.
MEXICO, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri Military Academy held an active-fire exercise on Wednesday, to test their response should an intruder enter a building.
The private boarding school for boys has more than 200 students. Most students live in the barracks on campus. There are over 250 security cameras across campus and an operations center from which all cameras are accessible.
The exercise included a man entering the building with a NERF gun.
The event was planned long before the school that shot a St. Lycée Louis on Monday morning. Two people were killed at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, seven were injured.
“Today’s exercise is about the safety and security of our cadets and personnel,” said Richard Geraci, president of the Missouri Military Academy. “It’s an ongoing process that helps us make those plans the best we can. The only way to do that is to practice and make sure everyone knows what to do in those situations. .”
Geraci stressed the importance of communication during exercises like this, so if an emergency were to occur, everyone is on the same page.
“We want to work with local law enforcement and EMS to familiarize them with the protocol,” Geraci said. “It is important for them to know the layout of our school and our facilities.”
Soldiers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol were at the school to observe the drill, as was County Audrain Emergency Management Director Carl Donaldson.
Audrain County Emergency Management is responsible for creating and developing emergency operations plans to protect county residents from disasters.
“This school is definitely unique, but it’s no different from any other school,” Donaldson said. “This institution exists to educate its students. Incidents like the one we trained for today exist in any school, and it is important that we do these drills to test our plans.”
In the event of an active shooter, some students play a role in responding to the crisis.
“Some students can be a squad leader or a business leader,” Geraci said. “Because of this, they are responsible for knowing where their classmates may be at all times. This keeps students accountable and there for their fellow students.”
MMA senior Anthony Melick is a band company commander at school, which means he’s a leader who takes responsibility for other peers by making sure everyone is accounted for.
“It’s important that we train even if there is a small chance of that happening,” Melick said. “We have to be prepared.”
There were about 20 people involved in the planning of this security event.
“We know we have to keep doing these drills to find our gaps and weaknesses in order to tighten them up,” said Major Thomas Roberts, a security officer.
According to Roberts, there were things he saw that needed improvement, but he thinks the exercise went well.
“There are some things we absolutely need to do better,” he said. “However, we train and just by doing it, we improve.