Kirkwood Officials Avert Disruptive Overlap of Two Key Events
As you might have heard, local and state elections occur across Iowa in a few weeks, including in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. As you might have also heard, active shooting cases at high school and college campuses and other locations have been on an uptick and heavily in the news lately, creating the urgency for such places to conduct active shooter drills in preparation should the unfortunate occurrence happen to them.
Due to some unintentional poor timing, those two worlds might have collided in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, as Kirkwood Community College was set to be both a voting location and the site of an active shooter drill on the same day.
According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, there was much concern expressed by staff and faculty over the overlapping events at Kirkwood. November 8 was chosen as the date of the drill because it "worked into the schedule" of all involved with the entities conducting it--Kirkwood Public Safety officials, and the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Apparently, the fact that it was also on Election Day was just a coincidence that didn't cross anyone's mind, so it will now be postponed.
The drill exercise was first planned as a "full-scale" campus event, but was then confined to take place at both Jones Hall (home of the school's Department of Industrial Technologies) and the Hotel at Kirkwood Center. Now the entire activity has been scrapped until a later date.
According to a Kirkwood spokesperson via the Gazette,
The drill was to serve as an “opportunity to rehearse how we would respond to this type of event,” and it would involve police, EMS, the fire department, and Kirkwood Public Safety. Most of the scenario, which would have started after 9 a.m., would have been confined to The Hotel at Kirkwood Center and Jones Hall, which houses the Department of Industrial Technologies on Kirkwood Boulevard SW
Kirkwood Public Safety officials say it was not their choice as to the date of the drill while insisting a broad variety of communication would be given, including public signage, messages to students, and text notifications across all regional centers and the Iowa City campus. The voting locations would have been operational as normal while other areas were being locked down for the drill, so you could imagine the potential chaos and confusion.
Kirkwood is required by federal law to hold one active shooter drill each year, so it will be rescheduled. The date next year has not yet been chosen either, but it might be done in conjunction with the also-required hazardous materials drill.