Gonzales, LA – The City of Gonzales Police Department was host to a full scale training exercise, based on a school crisis incident. This multi-jurisdictional exercise took place at Pecan Grove Primary school on the morning of November 20. The exercise involved some 800 plus people. This exercise was possible through the collaborative planning efforts of the City of Gonzales Police Department, Ascension Parish School Board, Ascension Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, City of Gonzales Fire Department, Ascension Fire Protection District #1 and St. Elizabeth Hospital
Chief Sherman Jackson with the City of Gonzales Police Department wishes to thank the following agencies for their support and participation: Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Fire Protection Districts 1, 2 and 3, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana State Police, Acadian Ambulance, the Louisiana Emergency Response Network, Region 2 Hospital Emergency Planning Coalition, Louisiana Bureau of EMS, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ascension Counseling Center and Capitol Area Human Services.
The exercise was the culmination of three years’ worth of planning and training, and served as a tool for achieving a better coordinated response if a serious incident should befall one of our area schools. The main focus of the exercise was a three category mission that included life safety, incident safety and recovery.
“This training exercise allowed us to practice our response plans. Especially those focused on the care of our community’s children, in a time of crisis,” stated City of Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson. “Today’s exercise is the culmination of a three year progressive exercise program, allowing our response community, to be better prepared for a school crisis situation. From the first notification and all the way through the reunification of school children with their loved ones; ensuring the safety and protection of every child within the school is, and has remained, paramount in this training. By working together as one solid team, incorporating all external agencies, we are in a prime position to be proactive in case of a crisis event. Our unified planning and training approach will serve us well, and will continue to be a progressive blueprint, for us to do just that.”
“Ascension Public Schools is committed to the safety of its students, teachers and staff. Partnering with law enforcement in full-scale exercises such as we experienced today enhances our preparedness and response efforts to emergency situations,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent, Patrice Pujol. “I would like to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to those who worked tirelessly to refine our response plans and all who participated in today’s mock crisis drill.”