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Las Cruces-area middle School, officials, prepare for school shooting

By: Genevieve Curtis
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Days after a student opened fire at his Roswell middle school, Las Cruces officials and first responders prepared for a shooter on one of their own campuses. 

It's a plan they never want to have to put into action but teachers and first responders said they have to be prepared in case schools like Mesa Middle School become the scene of a shooting.

Friday morning the Dona Ana County-City of Las Cruces Local Emergency Planning Committee and the DAC-CLC Office of Emergency Management hosted an active-shooter tabletop exercise pertaining to Mesa Middle School.

Emergency responders, officials from the school district and faculty from Mesa Middle School walked through an exercise detailing an active shooter on campus to test the school's emergency action plan.

First responders led the group through a scenario provoking questions to help educators at Mesa Middle School make choices as to what they would do in that situation.

Roswell school administrators said their emergency plan saved lives on Tuesday, and emergency officials in Las Cruces emphasized the importance of this type of exercise.

Anytime you have a plan or you are active in your safety measures your response is immediate, you already know what to do, said Todd Gregory, the safety security coordinator for Las Cruces Public Schools.

This particular meeting was planned about eight months ago, but the shooting this week in Roswell, a town only three hours away, really brought it home.

"It's been an issue since Columbine. It's an issue every time we have an act of violence somewhere. Unfortunately, yes, it is just another reminder that we need to be prepared and keep our students safe and be able to respond effectively," said Gregory.

A bond for Las Cruces Public Schools is up for the voters to decide. Superintendent Stan Rounds said almost $4 million dollars of the bond is designated towards improving school security and student safety.

It address situations like that (school shootings). It includes camera systems it includes locking systems, ways of securing buildings, said Rounds.

Friday morning's exercise was videotaped and will be available to teachers.