The Drill of a Lifetime

      Ready to Report

I went on a bit of an adventure last Thursday.

Knowing a lot of folks up in Bothell, including at City Hall, I was invited to be a ‘persistent reporter’ for a simulated emergency drill. Not just the city would take part, but also folks from the UW-Bothell and Cascadia College, to prepare for a “what if” scenario to see how well they would all work together.

We were supposed to meet and talk about the exercise, what they’d like me to do, read over questions to ask the crisis center and city leaders at the mock press conference, enjoy a little lunch, etc.

When I arrived at exactly noon, Bothell City Hall was packed. City workers buzzed around in their orange vests, there were police officers, even people who appeared to be part of a jury, wearing name tags like, “Juror #1.”  It was impressive and gave you the feeling that something wrong was really going on. I asked for my contact and quickly found myself in an elevator heading up with all 12 jurors.  I couldn’t resist saying to one of them, “You know he’s guilty.” Another juror gave me the International sign for, “Shush!”

Finding my contact, we then returned back down to the main floor and headed into a room where we were informed that the drill would have to wait, maybe even be post-poned. The reason? An actual bomb threat had been made at the Bothell Courthouse not even a block away.

So, some of the police and fire folks who were supposed to be part of the drill had some real-life drama to deal with. That also meant that the juror I told “he was guilty” was actually real. Oops.

90 minutes later, the bomb squad checked out the suspicious device, it turned out to be nothing and the drill commenced. It was interesting to play a part in the drill (I was Harley from KOMO TV)  and watch the teamwork that was born from this exercise that you hope you never have to do in real life. But you have to be ready.

It also gave me an idea for a screenplay that I will never have time to write, but if you take it on, I want partial screen credit.  So, someone is terrorizing the city. A while into this terror, a police officer says this all seems so familiar and looks for similar sprees in the past, but comes up empty. Then, he remembers that this is going the exact same way as a city drill held several years before. It turns out that the culprit is an angry ex-city employee who felt his opinion was ignored and wants to prove the city wrong. Of course, knowing what his next step will be allows the policeman to foil the plan and the bad guy gets captured.

It could have been just another day but it ended up being quite the adventurous Thursday. Because it was on the edge of over-achieving, I think I’m going to take it real easy this week on Thursday. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Or, visit that guy up in Bothell if they really did find him guilty.


Tim Hunter


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