Hononegah High School will host police training exercises next week


Champaign IL police held first responder training in July 2023 and January 2024. Photo: Champaign Police Facebook page

Hononegah Community High School will serve as the host site for armed intruder training exercises in the afternoons on July 9, 11, and 16, 2024 in collaboration with Rockton, Roscoe, South Beloit Police Departments, and the Illinois State Police.

Principal Chad Dougherty acknowledges "that the presence of many first responders on campus may cause some concern." But he assures parents, "Students will not be present during the active training exercises in the afternoon. Summer school classes will not be impacted" as they are held in the mornings. The Champaign, IL police department held similar exercises at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign last July.

Dougherty says, "The afternoon training exercises are a proactive measure to ensure the safety and preparedness of our local first responders in the unlikely event of an emergency. The exercises will involve training and simulated scenarios designed to provide our local law enforcement with hands-on experience in handling such situations.... The exercise will be conducted in a controlled environment, with safety measures in place to ensure the well-being of all participants and the surrounding community."

Dougherty adds, "Access to areas of the school will be restricted during the training period. We kindly ask that you avoid coming to the campus during the active training exercises in the afternoon hours unless it is absolutely necessary."

    Dougherty says, "The training is designed to prepare first responders for situations we hope we never face, but being prepared is crucial for everyone's safety."

    Residents should contact the Hononegah office at 815-624-5005 if they have any questions or concerns about the training.

    This exercise is different from the Illinois state law requirement for schools to hold a student lockdown drill within the first 90 days of the school year. The law says that walk-through drill must be age-appropriate, announced in advance, and "must not include simulations that mimic an actual school shooting incident or active shooter event." Those rules don't apply when students aren't present.

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