Body cam shows police response, panic in ‘active shooter’ drill at Michigan psych hospital for kids

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Imagine you are at work and over a loudspeaker you hear an announcement that states armed intruders have entered the building. What would you do?

Employees and patients inside a Northville, Michigan, psychiatric hospital for children heard that announcement on Dec. 21, 2022. They said they were filled with fear and confusion.

It was just a drill. The facility hadn’t warned the local police department. Local 4 obtained body camera footage from police, who responded to the scene after frantic calls were made to 911.

Police respond to reports of ‘active shooter’ at Hawthorn Center
The dispatch center at the Northville Police Department started to get inundated with frantic calls at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2022.

The callers were terrified. Employees who were working at the Hawthorn Center said it was chaos inside the building. They truly believed there was an armed intruder among them. Employees said they were traumatized and in tears as they desperately tried to hide.

Body camera footage from police officers shows them rushing to the scene. Northville Township wasn’t the only department that responded -- Northville, Livonia and Michigan State Police also rushed to the scene.

Dozens of police units arrived and officers quickly grabbed their tactical weapons and heavy gear. They organized and moved into place to stop who they thought were intruders.

Officers made contact with two people in front of the building. They told the officers that they were employees and that the “active shooter” situation was just a drill. The employees sprawled out on the ground until officers could confirm it was a drill.

'MDHHS is investigating the events involved in the recent drill conducted at Hawthorn Center'

Since the Hawthorn Center is a state-run children’s psychiatric hospital, it is managed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

In a statement, the MDHHS said it is investigating the events involved in the drill and will ensure policies are followed for any future drills.

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