Oakwood, Dearborn police conduct ‘active shooter’ drill


The Dearborn Police Department and the security staff at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center (OHMC) conducted a training exercise on Wednesday designed to help both agencies respond to emergency situations.

During the exercise, which was the first of its kind for Oakwood, members of the Dearborn Police Critical Incident and Community Support Unit and Oakwood security teamed up to track down an armed suspect who was loose in the hospital.

“I’m a firm believer that if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail,” said Morris Cotton, director of security for OHMC. “This drill allowed us to see what our strengths are and to look for opportunities for improvement.”

Cristy Rankin, RN, EMT, Emergency Management Liaison for Oakwood, said the ‘active shooter,’ or Code Silver, drill has been in the planning stages for more than a year. It was designed to be as close to a real life scenario as possible. Members of the Critical Incident and Community Support unit, already on duty but on patrol throughout the community, responded as they would have to an actual emergency 911 call. As many as 20 officers took part in the drill, which was conducted in two back-to-back sessions.

“We want to make sure we are absolutely prepared at the hospital,” she said. “These are skills and policies that we hope we never have to use, but it’s important to be prepared if something like this occurs. We are committed to preparing ourselves for all types of disasters.”

Lt. William Leavens, commander of the critical response unit, said the drill was invaluable on many levels.

“This was a layout that we had not trained in before,” he said. “(The unit) didn’t know exactly what to expect. They were told it was an active shooter drill, but other than that they were left totally in the dark.”

There were opportunities for improvement in the communication between the two agencies as well as within the hospital, itself. Leavens said learning what needed to be fixed was one of the objectives of the exercise.

“You’re always training; you’re always trying to improve,” he said. “One of the purposes of this drill was to make sure we can work well together.”
Oakwood Healthcare regularly conducts training exercises and takes part in regional crisis drills in order to improve emergency response procedure to all manner of local and regional health threats. Cotton said this is the first drill of its type Oakwood has conducted with a police agency.

Cutlines: Members of the Dearborn Police Critical Incident and Community Support Unit (above) conduct an ‘active shooter’ drill with the staff at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center. Lt. William Leavens (below, right), commander of the Dearborn Police Critical Incident and Community Support Unit, Cristy Rankin, RN, EMT, Emergency Management Liaison for Oakwood and Bev Leone, a retired nurse and paramedic who volunteered for the drill, go over the plan at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center.



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