"The ultimate goal with ALICE isn't to "change" any school district or business policy, but rather enhance any policies already in place," says Rodney Drummer, Tama County deputy sheriff.
ALICE is the acronym for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate.
Drummer is one of three certified ALICE instructors in the sheriff's office who provided training sessions for South Tama schools staff members on Jan. 2. The ALICE focuses on incidents primarily involving what are termed "active shooter / violent intruder."
Tama County Deputy Sheriff Bruce Rhoads points to a critical area in the layout of the Columbine School in Colorado where a deadly shooting rampage occurred in 1999. To emphasize the seriousness of such an incident, Rhoads told the staff, “I’m a big guy, I can take care of myself. But, I’m not match for a 15-year-old armed with a high-powered rifle.” The presentation was?part of the ALICE?presentation to South Tama schools staff on Thursday, Jan. 2, which also included hands-on safety demonstrations to aid plans already in place.
"Think beyond," was one of the messages brought to the staff by Deputy Bruce Rhoads. In a portion of his presentation he said escape if possible, is likely the best choice based upon lessons from Columbine and Virginia Tech school shootings.
In addition to Rhoads and Drummer, Deputy Brian Randall also provided instruction. All are certified as ALICE instructors, having undergone specialized training.'
Sessions were conducted at the STC?High School, Middle School and elementary through the day. Teachers, administrators, support staff and custodial staff took part.
The presentations provided some real experiences including tapes of 911 calls made during the Columbine, Colo. school shootings in 1999.
Drummer says, "With the training hopefully comes the understanding that this training isn't a "cure all" for an active shooter / violent intruder incident. As we all know nothing is 100 percent, however doing something is better than nothing."
The training sessions consisted of 60-90 minute-long Power Point presentations.
Following these, "staff or attendees are separated into groups then go to different class rooms in the respective building where instructors give examples of how to barricade a door, talk about repositioning of filing cabinets, desks or heavy objects to get those closer to a door etc. This takes usually around 30 minutes or so depending on questions by staff or attendees," according to Drummer.
Other school districts including GMG in Tama-Marshall counties and a pair of districts in Grundy County have received ALICE training from the Tama County Sheriff's Office.
Drummer says one of the goals of his office is to provide training to all school districts.
Drummer says the ALICE program goes beyond just staff training: "To add to the ALICE program would be a community forum for parents to attend to get an idea of what ALICE truly is with the opportunity for instructors to let parents know their children aren't being asked to "counter" or attack an active shooter / violent intruder. Also including lock down drills as part of semiannual or annual drills in the school that are treated just like a fire alarm or tornado drill."