If you drove by Berlin High School Monday, Martin Luther King Day, you might have been alarmed to see a high police presence at the school on Patterson Way. It was just a drill. But it was an important drill.
In the light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Berlin Police Dept. used the students' vacation day to conduct training exercises on how to handle school safety issues.
The Department used he upper levels of the building, according to Deputy Police Chief John Klett during normal school hours, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to train in real-life school situations.
"We do this type of training every year and had it scheduled but we moved it up a bit in light of the recent activities in the state," Klett said. "We planned to do it and we had most of our inside staff there that day.
"We have an in-service training every year and this was another part of that. This training deals with tactical response to a school safety situation. We worked in three and four man teams and then worked in one and two man teams and went over how to clear the building. We put in a lot of variables. We will get all of our personnel trained soon but were able to get all the inside personnel trained.
"This tactical training was originally in response to the shooting at Columbine. Now with the tragedy in Newtown it is just as important to get this training done and be up on all of the latest techniques. The fact we have to do this is tragic but we want to be prepared to prevent a catastrophe here."
Klett said that while this exercise was at Berlin High School, he wants all of the department to be familiar with all of the schools in town.