After a full year of detailed preparation, nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies collaborated with North Bergen to run the largest “active shooter” drill ever held in Hudson County and probably in the state.
Federal air marshals acted as gunmen who invaded Robert Fulton School on June 23, 2017 with hundreds of volunteers acting as students, teachers, parents, hostages, and victims of gunshot wounds. Together they intentionally created a scenario of panic and chaos, which NBPD officers had to address while simultaneously dealing with the unfolding situation within the school. The officers were given no advance warning of the scenario inside the school and had to react on the fly. The goal was to test their skills and training in reacting to a critical situation.
Seventy stationary cameras captured their responses, along with a film crew and GoPro cameras attached to participants. The results were watched by Mayor Sacco and other officials in real-time as they unfolded, and will be edited into a video for use in training.
Police Chief Robert Dowd, in a press conference held immediately after the drill, praised the officers’ actions, while stating that room for improvement was found in certain areas. For example, it was noted that the entrance to the school was lacking a camera, a problem that will be remedied now that it has been identified through this exercise.
Joining in the drill were EMS, the fire department, various hospitals, the Department of Homeland Security, and many more.