By Richard Meija / Staff Writer
As students took time away from campus during Spring Break, the LAC was very much active as different branches of law enforcement participated in a campus shooting drill Wednesday, April 23.
Officers from the Long Beach Police Department, U.S. Marshals, and Long Beach Unified School District campus police participated in simulations of an on and off-campus shooting as part of a safety training program.
LBCC Police Lt. Julie Prior said, “It’s a terrible truth, but shootings like this actually happen, so this type of hands-on training is absolutely vital for all officers to know how to approach and contain the situation.”
The shooting drill took place on the LAC in buildings A and N. The drill consisted of one “shooter,” played by an LBPD officer, who became disgruntled after an interaction with the financial aid office.
“Most of the participating officers were unfamiliar with the campus,” said Prior. “The unfamiliarity of the campus will help prepare them for any scenario, in any location.”
Once the officers are in building, they searched each room looking for the assailant, all the while both student and staff volunteers acted as victims who have been shot, wounded, or in hiding.
The drills ended when officers caught and shot the shooter with simulated gunfire.
LBPD officer Kevin Stinson said, “As police officers, the best way for us to the learn how to handle situations like these is hands-on. Regardless of age or experience on the force, these drills better prepare us to protect our citizens.”
In addition to the multiple law enforcement units at LBCC, the Long Beach Fire Department also participated in the drill as they practiced treatment and rescue methods for those who might be injured.
LBFD Battalion Chief and Director of Training, Jim Rexwinkel, said, “The fire department goes through rescue training all the time and they’re very good at it.
Police officers go through weapons training all the time and they’re very good at it. It’s the combination of both units, however, that make these simulations critical. We learn how to handle these situations together.”
In attempt to make not just LBCC a safer campus, but Long Beach a safer city, more than fifty of these officers spent over twelve hours on campus continually going over different strategies and techniques to better hone their skills in these type of life-threatening events.
Marcus Gill, 26, a sociology major, volunteered to act as a wounded victim. “It was very fun and energetic!” Gill said.
Officer Stinson said, “The best thing students can do in a situation like this depends on where they’re at. If they’re in class, listen to the professor.
“If they aren’t in class, the best thing for students to do is to carefully and cautiously evacuate the campus.”
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