The Sheriff’s Department Community College Office Coordinates Active Shooting 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 well-being of students and staff, it is essential to provide ongoing training to ensure that deputies, security guards and outside response agencies are competent in tactical incident management, with officer and public safety as the primary focus.

On Thursday, April 7, 2022, staff from the Community College Bureau, Special Enforcement Bureau, Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, Emergency Operations Bureau, County K9 Services Team, Mental Assessment Team, ‘Aero Bureau and the City of Los Angeles Fire Department came together to conduct an active fire exercise at Pierce College in Winnetka, California. With the opportunity to train together and practice their skills and tactics. First responders trained to plan and manage situations involving “active shooters” and/or mass violence in locations with multiple casualties.

The Community College Bureau provides contract enforcement services to nine community colleges on Los Angeles County campuses and the drill, which took place over spring break, was the largest multi- agencies led by the Community College Bureau to date following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. . They incorporated simulated gunfire with firearms and improvised explosive devices to create a real-life feel. The actors played the role of patients in the scripts; law enforcement worked together to locate agitators, secure the campus, locate victims, and assist those in need of medical assistance; and fire rescue personnel helped coordinate patient care.

Capt. John Gannon, who oversees the Community College Bureau, watched the training exercise and said, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department prioritizes the safety of students and staff at all campuses around the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). “Emergency preparedness and campus security require ongoing training to prepare our staff for emergencies. The ability of a department of our size to provide specialist resources and rapid deployment teams further supports the College Bureau’s commitment to keeping students and faculty safe.

The day’s event was a meaningful, insightful and impactful training exercise for first responders, faculty and students. An added benefit is the mental scrutiny and rehearsal of events by students and faculty who, as civilians, would not normally receive this type of training. Their new understanding and preparation will likely be shared with others, guiding them in the event of an active shooter, and helping them stay calm. First responders from three different agencies have learned to work together even more seamlessly during a stressful situation to maintain the same priority: keeping everyone safe.