Terror drill in Ragley tests deputies & bus driver

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -Emergency officials spend a lot of time thinking about the worst that can happen. And that's what they did in the Ragley as law enforcement and school board employees responded to a mock terrorist attack on a school bus. Chief Deputy Joe Toler says the drill scenario involves people on the bus being taken hostage.  "It's an exercise in coordination to work with other agencies so that they know how we operate and we know how they operate and what's expected of each agency."

The Beauregard Sheriff's Department tactical team went through the motions of attempting to rescue the hostages and take down the bad guys. Ken Harlow with Beauregard Homeland Security says part of the purpose is planning. "Establishing better plans and notification times, also communication within the buses. And also the ability to have time for our law enforcement to go through some of their tactics."

Pat Stinson is a school bus driver who was aboard the bus during the mock terrorist attack. "It was actually very scary when they came on the bus, and I think it would really help us if something like this really happened." Reporter: What if anything did you learn from this? Said Stinson, "I would say to remain calm, to try to keep the children calm as best you could."

Even though a terror attack on a bus in Beauregard seems unlikely officials say the training is applicable to other situations that are more apt to happen. Said Toler, "We could apply the scenario to maybe a disgruntled parent, a divorce situation or somebody just mad at the school system."

He adds much of the training can be used in bad weather emergencies such as a hurricane.

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