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SWAT officers practice school shooting response at Newport Central Catholic

Posted at 12:44 AM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 00:44:40-04

NEWPORT, Ky. -- SWAT officers with binoculars and sniper rifles crouched Thursday night on the roof of Newport Central Catholic High School, sights trained on the only set of windows that hadn’t been shuttered. 

The students had already been evacuated with their hands in the air. Inside the one still-lit classroom, rifle-wielding officers handcuffed a man who lay face-down on the tile floor. 

A photographer in a green vest trailed behind.

Thursday night was just practice for the Newport Police Department: The suspect was an actor, and the students were ever in any danger. However, Lt. Chris Fangman said, a real shooting could happen at any time. He and the rest of his department hope to be prepared if it does.

"We're very much looking at it as the position of, we're all fathers and mothers and sons and daughters,” he said. “We all train as if our children are in there.”

A handful of local school districts, including Hamilton City Schools and Lakota Local Schools, have this year debated or implemented policies theoretically aimed at preventing violence, including allowing some school staffers to carry weapons and adding more armed resource officers. 

Responding to violence, however, is still a priority. Hamilton High School hosted its own active shooter simulation in June -- this one complete with smears of fake blood.