HERMISTON, OR - The Hermiston Police Department will now go to all activated fire alarms in the area except for planned drills. The idea came after officials of a private school in the area voiced their concern about their escape route limitations.
"I take full responsibility for us not thinking about this sooner," said Jason Edmiston, Hermiston's Chief of Police. "That was the driving force, was a request from a private school to have us respond to fire alarms."
The police department will leave most of the authority to the fire department, who will decide if the situation is a false alarm or not. Police officers will arrive wearing a helmet, an additional vest, and will carry their rifle.
Last week, the Hermiston Police Department posted the new policy on their Facebook page, receiving positive responses from the community.
"The reason for us putting it on Facebook was to get ahead as much as we could to notify the public that there may come a time where a parent sees an officer walking up to a school, and may automatically assume the worst," Chief Edmiston said. "When in fact, hopefully, its just an alarm."
Within the last two years, the Hermiston Police Department has trained over 2,000 people on active shooter training, including some employees at the schools.