Thornes Marketplace to enhance its emergency action plan with security training and active shooter drill

 In Client Press Releases

Protecting tenants, staff and customers in an era in which daily mass shootings have become the norm is the goal

NORTHAMPTON—Given that daily mass shootings have become the norm across the country, Thornes Marketplace has hired Protective Advanced Safety Services (PASS) of Agawam to enhance its emergency action plan and provide training to merchants and staff.  

The four-hour “OVERT: Occupational Violence Emergency Response Training” will take place on a Sunday to be determined when the building is closed to the public. PASS leaders will provide both classroom training and three or four active shooter scenarios in which blanks will be fired to simulate real gun fire and an authentic scene.

Tenants were made aware of the training today in a staff meeting.

ABC News reported in May that there were at least 202 mass shootings in the country in 2023—which is more than one a day—and Jody Doele, marketing manager and a co-owner for Thornes, said Thornes leadership wants to be proactive in protecting tenants, staff and customers from harm.

“We want to be sure we have the most up-to-date security plan and that our tenants and staff are equipped with knowledge and some experience. Taking part in a simulation in which blanks are used will give us all the most authentic perspective on what these terrible situations are like and allow us the best chance at a swift and positive response,” Doele said. “We believe this action is a necessary one to help keep our Thornes community safe.”

PASS develops training programs and provides crime prevention measures, overall risk assessments, behavioral analysis and active shooter trainings to public and private clients. 

PASS co-founders John Nettis and Steve Grasso will lead the session at Thornes.

Nettis is a retired senior lieutenant of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department with 21 years of experience in law enforcement. He worked in the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit and in the Tactical Response Unit as team leader for 18 years and is a past director of the Western Mass County Correctional Officers Academy. He is trained in criminal and behavioral profiling and is a CPR first responder. 

Grasso is a retired sergeant / safety / crime prevention officer as well as traffic bureau and school resource officer / supervisor of the Agawam Police Department with 34 years of service. He is trained in many different police operations. 

Nettis and Grasso both hold Active Shooter / A.L.I.C.E. Trainer certification.

As part of their work, Nettis and Grasso will assess the Thornes building, review all security policies and procedures, evaluate logistics of the facility and demographics of employees and develop a plan specific to Thornes Marketplace. 

To learn more about Thornes Marketplace, visit

Thornes Marketplace has been the cornerstone of downtown Northampton and at the center of the Main Street shopping district for more than a century. Built in 1873, it holds 55,000 square feet of space for merchants and includes features like pressed tin ceilings and hardwood floors.

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