Sheriff’s Department’s Community College Bureau Coordinates Active Shooter Exercise at Pierce College
The fundamental duty of all sworn personnel is to protect life and property. As part of a commitment to the safety and wellbeing of students and staff it is essential to provide ongoing training to ensure deputies, security officers, and responding outside agencies are proficient in handling tactical incidents, with officer and public safety as the primary goal.
On Thursday, April 7, 2022, personnel from Community College Bureau, Special Enforcement Bureau, Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, Emergency Operations Bureau, the countywide Services K9 team, Mental Evaluation Team, Aero Bureau and the Los Angeles City Fire Department gathered to conduct an active shooter drill at Pierce College in Winnetka California. With the opportunity to train together and practice their skills and tactics. First responders practiced planning for and handling situations involving “active shooters” and/or mass violence at locations with multiple victims.
Community College Bureau provides contract law enforcement services to nine community colleges on campuses across Los Angeles County and the drill, which was held during spring break, was the largest multi-agency exercise conducted yet by the Community College Bureau after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. They incorporated simulated gunfire with firearms and improvised explosive devices to create a real-life feel. Role players acted as patients in the scenarios; law enforcement worked together to locate the agitators, secure the campus, locate victims, and assist those in need of medical assistance; and fire rescue personnel assisted in coordinating patient care.
Captain John Gannon, who oversees the Community College Bureau, attended the training exercise and said, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department prioritizes the safety of students and staff at all Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) campuses.” “Emergency preparedness and campus safety requires an ongoing training preparing our personnel for emergencies. The ability of a department our size to provide specialized resources and rapid deployment teams further supports the College Bureau’s commitment to keep students and faculty safe.”
The day’s event was a meaningful, insightful and impactful training exercise for first responders, faculty and students, alike. One added benefit is the mental review and rehearsal of events by the students and faculty who, as civilians, would not normally receive this type of training. Their new understanding and preparedness will likely be shared with others, guide them in the event of an active shooter and help keep them calm. First responders from three different agencies learned to work together even more fluidly during a stressful situation to uphold the same priority: Keep everyone safe.