The Chino Valley High School campus went into lockdown approximately one hour before morning classes began Tuesday as Chino Valley Police responded to a report of an armed man on campus.
At 7:40 a.m. 911 operators received a call from a driver reporting that he saw a man handling a pistol while entering the north driveway of the campus from Highway 89. The driveway leads to the baseball field and the district bus barn.
"Officers located the vehicle but not the driver, then notified school officials who immediately put the campus on lockdown," said CVPD commander Mark Garcia. The officers then saw the driver approaching the vehicle and they detained him for questioning."
Garcia said the man admitted to having a firearm in his vehicle, claiming he had been out shooting earlier in the morning.
"He was on campus to pick up a relative that works at the school, and after questioning it was determined that the suspect had no intention to disrupt the school," said Garcia.
Police took the man to police headquarters, where he was cited for a misdemeanor charge of misconduct involving weapons by possession of a deadly weapon on school grounds and released.
"I was extremely pleased with the way our staff responded this morning," said Chino Valley School Supt. Duane Howard. "The principal, the teachers, and the students all behaved responsibly and immediately, without incident. The whole thing was over within a matter of minutes."
Garcia said the entire incident was concluded within 15 minutes of the call.
"The response was immediate, there was no second guessing," Howard said. "Everyone knew what their role was, they knew where to go and what to do. Thankfully this ended without incident, but it goes to show how important training is for our staff and students. I was just very impressed."
The lockdown came less than a week before a planned CVPD first responders training drill scheduled to take place from 8:30 - 11 a.m. on Wednesday Dec. 5.
The drill will include a simulated critical incident that will put the campus in lockdown, where students will not be allowed to leave their classrooms.
Garcia recommends that people looking for information on school safety visit www.iloveyouguys.org.
"This organization was started and is maintained by victims of school violence and has some great resources for school officials, students, and parents," said Garcia.
Questions about the upcoming drill should be directed to Sgt. Vincent Schaan at the CVPD, 928-636-4223 or to Asst. Principal Julie Bryce at CVHS, 928-636-2298.