Students won’t get the chance to cram for a test at Forsyth Library on the Fort Hays State University campus for at least part of the day Tuesday.
That’s when the place will be overrun with law enforcement officers and a band of observers actively participating in an active shooter exercise.
It all will be a test, and FHSU University Director of Police and Security Ed Howell wants to make sure no one misinterprets the exercise as something real.
It won’t be real.
Instead, officers from the university, Kansas Highway Patrol, Hays Police Department and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in an exercise to test their training to prepare for an active shooter.
Howell said the exercise will be carefully controlled, with the library closed to the public from 11:30 a.m. to no later than 3 p.m. Only authorized people — wearing exercise badges — will be allowed inside, and the front will be cordoned off with snow fence while a sign will be on display to show the event is merely training.
In conjunction with the training, Hays Fire Department, Ellis County Emergency Management and Hays Medical Center will be conducting a tabletop exercise at HMC to map out responses for potential victims had the situation actually been real.
No wailing sirens and emergency vehicles rushing to the scene will be seen. Instead, the primary exercise will be inside the library, which will be empty of students, staff and professors.
Even the media will be cordoned off, although they will be given briefings before and after the exercise. They won’t be allowed inside to watch the exercise, Howell said.
“We want to make sure people don’t misinterpret this,” Howell said of spreading the word early about the training session.
As many as 30 people will be inside the library, most of them players in the training session. Another eight to nine officers will be entering the building for the exercise.