Northpoint Training Center was bristling Thursday with the kind of emergency response power that officials hope will never be required again in a real-life scenario.
The prison, parts of which burned in a 2009 riot, held an annual training exercise to allow about 130 members of the Critical Incident Response Team to have a dry run in an actual corrections facility.
The drill started shortly before 8 a.m. and ended about 2:30 p.m. without incident.
Warden Steve Haney said the CIRT members swept through the medium-security prison doing searches of living areas. It also gave corrections personnel from across the state a chance to see how their preparedness plans work in case of an emergency.
Among the observers Thursday were J. Michael Brown, secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and Ladonna Thompson, commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Brown and Thompson, who were both in the same positions in 2009, visited the prison to check on the newly completed facility and the drill.
On Aug. 21, 2009, inmates burned six buildings, and a group of about 100 prisoners would not surrender for several hours. The CIRT response, along with local and state law enforcement, was credited in large part with minimizing human casualties in 2009.
Haney said drills like the one Thursday and some of the technological upgrades made after the riot put the prison on even stronger footing today. The prison’s command center, the last major piece of the nearly $19 million rebuilding project will also come online this week.
In June workers completed a 39,000-square-foot program facility, which includes dining, medical and other functions once housed in separate buildings that burned during the riots. The prison has steadily added inmates and is close to its pre-riot capacity of 1,256.