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Mock drill prepares for school crisis

A worker removes police tape after training excercise Churchill School Homewood July 29 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media

A worker removes the police tape after the training excercise at Churchill School in Homewood on July 29, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 31, 2014 6:12AM



The Homewood police and fire departments and Homewood School District 153 cooperated on a critical-incident drill Tuesday morning — a mock school shooting and would-be bombing at Winston Churchill Elementary School.

The drill focused on coordinating response and communication between Homewood’s police, fire and public works departments along with other south suburban emergency departments. The streets surrounding the school, 1300 W. 159th St., were closed during the drill.

“Anytime there’s a major incident, we look at what happened and how we, the police, responded,” Homewood Deputy Police Chief Denise McGrath said. “We can we learn from it ... moving forward.”

Emergency responders from other Southland towns observed the drill, in which two “shooters” and “bombs” were inside the school.

McGrath said 30 people participated in Tuesday’s drill, including some student volunteers from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. She said something is learned every time a mock drill is conducted.

Homewood village manager Jim Marino agreed with McGrath.

“Unfortunately, these incidents continue to happen throughout the country,” he said. “We have to be prepared for it.”

Adam Briones has lived across the street from Churchill for 15 years and his son attended the school. He said witnessing the drill was a reminder of the world we now live in.

“This is why this is kind of scary. It’s a rude awakening for our culture on how things are changing,” Briones said. “Things like this need to be done to keep us safe. Unfortunately, these are the times we live in.”



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