SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. -- Jefferson County Schools (JCS) hosted the FBI Pittsburgh’s Martinsburg Resident Agency, multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agency partners, and Berkeley County Schools (BCS) for a first-of-its-kind tabletop exercise Thursday, August 4. The all-day training at Wildwood Middle School and Jefferson High School was designed to help strengthen regional coordination and planning capabilities. Organizers designed the exercise to bring first responders from different agencies within the Eastern Panhandle together to discuss their roles and responses to a real-world, large-scale emergency. Through real-time exercises and simulated scenarios, participants were able to advance interagency teamwork and collaboration. Law enforcement partners were also able to discuss their strategy to include services needed and anticipated challenges or potential obstacles.
The exercise focused on the critical decisions which would need to be made in the first minutes, hours, and days following a large-scale event. Among the issues discussed and exercised were:
- Communicating quickly and effectively with the public during an emergency
- Command, control, and interoperable communications between all response agencies
- Coordinating the large-scale response by law enforcement to a school campus
Participating agencies included: FBI Pittsburgh, Jefferson County Schools, Berkeley County Schools, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police, Martinsburg Police Department, Ranson Police Department, Charles Town Police Department, Harpers Ferry Police Department, Shepherd University Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, National Park Service, and the ATF.