October 30, 2014

Emergency Management drill canceled in Pottawattamie County after threats

Emergency Management officials in western Iowa’s Pottawattamie County are blaming real-life threats for a decision to cancel a planned school shooting drill Saturday morning. Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Specialist Doug Reed said a so-called “Active Shooter” exercise in Treynor was canceled because employees of the school district received numerous threats.

The four-hour exercise at Treynor High School would have included police, firefighters, hospitals, government officials and others. The drill’s scenario was based on a school shooting involving two teens, including one with ties to a white supremacist group who was angry with illegal immigration.

Critics of the drill, including the Iowa Minutemen — an anti-illegal immigration group — had said the drill portrays Americans who want the government to enforce immigration laws, as criminals. Details of the scenario were not supposed to be made public in advance of the exercise, so as not to influence participants, but the information spread Wednesday and Thursday through social media websites.

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s office is investigating the threats, the nature of which have not been disclosed. Planning for the drill had been underway for several months. The event was being funded by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant.

By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic