A heavy police presence, road closures, "wounded" students and bone-chilling screams will take hold of a couple blocks in Manasquan on Friday.

But this is just a drill.

According to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, a series of active shooter drills at the former St. Denis School will offer law enforcement and first responders an opportunity to train in real-life situations in real time.

Involved agencies will be facing a simulated active shooter, along with the distractions that typically accompany these events.

"We have to create some kind of muscle memory," Gramiccioni said. "We have to be able to not have there be any surprises if, God forbid, something like this happens at any place across the county."

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Gramiccioni noted the exercise is not in response to any specific threat — it's an in-depth step to ensure a quick and unified response during the most dangerous and time-sensitive emergencies.

Friday also marks 19 years since two students opened fire at Columbine High School in Colorado and killed 13 people before taking their own lives.

"We're confident that we're building hard targets, which would make it difficult for anybody who has the objective or these goals to harm or hurt anyone," Gramiccioni said.

Activity related to the event is expected to begin around 6 a.m. Roads will be closed at Union Avenue between Curtis and Marcellus Avenues, Virginia Avenue from South Street to Mt Lane, and Mt Lane between Curtis and Marcellus Avenues.

Local high school students have volunteered to assist in the mock crime scene; a mock press conference is scheduled as well to add realism to the event.

“We will be bringing a level of realism to this drill that may cause concern for anyone unaware of the activity," Manasquan Police Chief Michael Bauer said in a news release. "Rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep our citizens informed and involved. The visuals of wounded people are simply a part of the realism and aids in making decisions about medical care and responses should we ever be faced with these realities. There is no cause for concern.”

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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