St. Louis County law enforcement agencies train for emergency response

On Thursday people in Eureka may have noticed flashing lights and a heavy police presence at the high school.
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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EUREKA, Mo. (KMOV) - On Thursday people in Eureka may have noticed flashing lights and a heavy police presence at the high school.

This was part of a practice response for potentially real-life situations as agencies from St. Louis County trained for how to respond to a large scale emergency. Eureka Police Captain Michael Werges told News 4 it was used to test the regional response after a major incident, like an active shooter.

“We have to be prepared to have manpower on scene for potentially 24-36 hours after an incident so no single agency can handle that on their own,” Captain Werges said. “We learned that during Ferguson that you have to work as a region.”

Different agencies from St. Louis County used this training as a way to also look for ways to improve their response plan. Captain Werges explained the training wasn’t for the initial response to an incident but instead the prolonged response to handle the aftermath.

“We have to make sure we rotate out officers, we keep them fresh and that we have every area covered,” Captain Werges said. “We would have reunification areas for parents and students. We would have to evacuate potentially injured people and we have to remember we would also be processing a large crime scene.”

Rockwood School District Superintendent Curtis Cain said the district is focusing on whatever it takes to keep students and staff safe.

“The threat horizon is constantly evolving, which means our responses have to evolve as well,” Cain said.

Cain told News 4 that putting their plans into practice is crucial.

“I never want a single staff member, student, parent or community member to ever walk in fear in the Rockwood School District,” Cain said. “I do believe we need to walk in a manner that is informed so people know what to do if in fact something happens.”

The SRO cars stationed at schools within the district during the year are also stocked with essential gear, like body armor and medical equipment.