Groups of deputies, police officers and firefighters roamed the hallways of Morris Community High School Friday morning.
They were not, however, responding to an emergency. Instead, they were called out to participate in an open house set up to recognize them, as well as get them more acquainted with the facility.
The open house was thought up by school resource officer Steve Huetteman, who said the event was planned as a way to show appreciation for what first responders do, as well as fulfill another purpose.
“The other purpose is to get other local emergency response agencies more familiar with our campus,” he said. “If there is an emergency on campus, it’s great that they are kind of familiar so they know where everything is.”
Students showed their appreciation by cooking up a chicken noodle soup lunch and cookies for the visitors.
Huetteman said invitations to the event were extended to agencies ranging from the Morris Police Department and Grundy County Sheriff’s Office to Illinois State Police’s District 5 and police departments from Minooka and Coal City.
“I think it’s great that they came down here on their own time, and I think it’s important to have them familiarized with our campus,” he said. “This is one way to get them in here.”
In addition to touring the buildings in groups, responders also were able to pick up maps of the school’s layout and learn more about different entry points that may serve them in an emergency situation. They could also ask questions about emergency plans in place.
Morris Police Chief Brent Dite said Huetteman’s idea for the day was good because it goes along with the department’s interest in creating partnerships within the community and beyond.
“It’s part of our mission to not only partner with the schools, but emergency agencies and other law enforcement agencies who would be responding,” he said. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Minooka Police Department could assist us.”
Morris Community High School Superintendent Dr. Pat Halloran agreed.
“We think it’s just a great opportunity for first responders and people who help us out throughout the year,” he said.