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Police & Fire

County Police Conduct Active Shooter Drill At Walter Panas High School

Westchester County's Special Response Team. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
County Executive Robert Astorino greets police at a drill at Walter Panas High School. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Officials watch the drill unfold at Walter Panas High School. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Police sweep the building during the active shooter drill. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Liam and James Atkins were two of the participants in the drill. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Lakeland Superintendent George Stone said safety is the top priority in Lakeland. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Volunteers are briefed before the active shooter drill begins. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
The "shooters" enter Walter Panas High School, which immediately went into lockdown. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Two of the "victims" of the shooting. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
One of the drills involved a man with a suspicious briefcase. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Police want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

County police, along with state police and local police, conducted an active shooter drill at Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt on Monday morning. 

Police simulated what they would do if a disgruntled employee and her boyfriend showed up to the high school, opened fire, took hostages and also had bombs and grenades.

County Executive Robert Astorino was on hand to witness the drill and said it was part of the county's safe community initiative.

"Following Sandy Hook, we wanted to coordinate between police and educators," Astorino said. "God forbid this happens, we know how to respond. This is how we learn. Better to learn in a drill."

Kieran O'Leary, public information officer for the Westchester County Police, said this was one of the largest drills the county police had done. The drill was funded through a federal grant.

Jared Wimmer, Liam Atkins and James Atkins were three of volunteers in the drill. 

"We want to help cops experience what it's like to experience a real life shooting so they can prepare," James Atkins said. 

Wimmer said it was good knowing they were helping the cops and maybe saving lives in the future.

Lakeland Schools Superintendent George Stone said this is something the district needed to do.

"What better way for us to learn?" Stone said. "Just like in music and athletics, the more you practice, the better you become. This is a chance for us to really work together and we can all learn what to do. 

Stone said it is critical the schools and police work together.

"Safety is our No. 1 priority," Stone said. "If we report someone is around the school, they arrive instantly. They have been great to us."

Dr. George Bovino, principal of North Salem Middle School and High School, observed the drill.

"This is the different world we live in," Bovino said. "The more knowledgeable we are, the better off we are. We are learning as much as we can."


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