With school shootings becoming more and more common around the country, school districts and law enforcement agencies have begun changing their protocols for handling such situations based on a new program that has been nationally endorsed in the education and law enforcement community.
ALICE has been endorsed by the United States Department of Education and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It is a new form of intruder response that is aimed to allow evacuation when possible and equip staff and students with techniques to better prepare themselves should an armed intruder enter a building.
On Monday, Jan. 6, Centerville Community School District staff received a day’s worth of training on the new program. Approximately 140 teachers, support staff, bus drivers and custodians took part in the training.
The training, which the Daily Iowegian was allowed to attend, included instruction and back-and-forth dialogue between local emergency personnel as well as the staff themselves.
Mike Moore, assistant police chief at the Centerville Police Department, led most of the instruction portion of the Monday morning meeting at Simon Estes Auditorium. Other area agencies represented at the training in addition to the Centerville Police Department were the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office, ADLM Emergency Management and the Centerville Fire Department.
ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. The five words that create the acronym aren’t necessarily meant to be used in the order, and not necessarily all techniques will be used in a given situation.
During the instruction period, Moore explained the difference between policies of the past and the movement towards ALICE.
The policies that the ALICE procedure is replacing are ones that called for school-wide lockdowns and for students and staff to hide in classrooms. The Columbine shooting, one of the first and most serious mass school shootings to occur in the United States, was used as a major example of the former lockdown and hide style policy in comparison to the new evacuate if possible procedures that are a major focus of ALICE.