Q&A: Red Oak ISD Police Chief Scott Lindsey

Red Oak ISD Police Chief Scott Lindsey has been preparing for the mock disaster drill for months. Lindsey said he believes ROJH will do a great job with Friday's mock disaster.

Red Oak ISD Police Chief Scott Lindsey has been preparing for the mock disaster drill for months. Lindsey said he believes ROJH will do a great job with Friday's mock disaster.

Allyssa Villalon, Reporter

Scott Lindsey, Red Oak ISD police chief, has been preparing for the mock disaster for months. Lindsey discussed his thoughts about the mock disaster drill with “RO: In The Know.”

QWhat’s the purpose of the mock disaster? Do you think its a good idea? Why or why not?
A:  The purpose of the mock disaster … We believe at Red Oak ISD that our No. 1 priority is the saftey of our students. We go above and beyond by testing this drill in real life to prepare ourselves for the real thing.

Q: How have you prepared for the mock disaster?
A:  We’ve been preparing for the mock disaster for the last six months. It’s a time-consuming process that we go through. We’ve been working with the Red Oak police chief [Garland Wolf], the fire chief [Eric Thompson] and the deputy [Ben Blanton]. These people, along with Dr. Niven (superintendent) and some other staff, have met many occasions working on how we are going to carry out the plan. In a mock disaster, you want to test your plan but you also want to know if it’s going to be safe for everyone involved because we are going to be moving approximately 900 people from one building to another, so that’s a big step, and we’ve put up a timeline on how everything is going to happen. In this mock disaster, it’s going to be much larger than the other ones we’ve done in the past because it’s going to include the city and not just the school. They’ll be going through and evacuating house editions and a lot of other things, so it has taken a lot of coordination and a lot of planning to really get it together. There will be another 200 emergency responders in our city at that time, meaning there will be police and fire departments from all over the area. So there’s been a lot of coordination with those organizations.

Q:  How do you think the mock disaster will go?
A: I think it will go fantastic. I believe that our junior high staff has really prepared our teachers. They are really serious about keeping our students safe. We feel like we are at a great place. We have wonderful students who listen and follow the directions and instructions. We also believe that we’ve worked hard enough on this plan to make sure that we are truly prepared. We believe this is going to go very well.

Q: In which areas do you think we will be strong and in which areas will we be weak?
A: I believe that our strengths will be our medical services and our district nurse. Our communication skills are what we are working on to improve because that’s what we are struggling on. There are many more strengths than there are weaknesses, but with our weaknesses, we are going to correct them.

Q:  What are you nervous about?
A:  On my end, I’m more nervous about making sure it all goes on a timeline. In real life, what we are practicing (which is a chemical spill) could take hours or even days to handle. But we only have a short amount of time to do this in because have to get [students] back here on time by 11:30 for lunch.

Q: How has parental response been?
A. It’s been wonderful. When we sent out letters to the students, the parents have participated greatly . We’ve had more parents participate this year than the other years.

Q:  How are you selecting students? And why do you want them involved?
A:  In 2001, we had our first mock disaster, and we wanted to include students to make it more realistic. Obviously, if we test our medical team and nobody is injured, then that will not help us. Every year we do the mock disaster, we keep adding more and more to it. So this year, when we asked how many students wanted to be an actor for the mock disaster, we had way more than we needed. We knew how many injured students we needed, and we decreased the number of students by taking out the students that are not passing their classes, don’t do their work, and who do not follow instructions. When we took all the bad students out of the stack, we still had about three times the number of students we needed. So I just randomly chose students out of the stack to be in the mock disaster drill as actors.

Q. How do you think ROJH will do during the mock disaster?
A. I think the junior high will do great, and I know that each time, it is very nerve-wracking for the teachers, but the students are normally just fine. It’s the teachers who are concerned and worried, but I have seen more confidence in this group of teachers, because I know that they trust and believe in the students and they know that the students will do what they are supposed to do.

Q. How many other districts do this drill?
A. I have yet to find a district that goes to this level. Most just sit around a table and talk about what they might do, but we are one of the two in this state that go to this level; the other one was on a weekend and was voluntary. There’s nobody else that goes to this level.

Q. Why did you choose this kind of disaster?
A. We try to look at things that will most likely happen to us if they ever happen. So we are just practicing this one because it’s realistic, and we haven’t done it.

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