Student volunteers pretended to lay dead, officers carried fake guns, dummies imitating bodies were dragged and officers communicated over their radios while acting out scenario-based drills.
Preparing for the worst is now frequently about active shooter situations on American school campuses.
CSUN’s Police Department held an active shooter drill in the F5 parking lot outside of the Matadome on Feb. 21. CSUN PD trained from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with LAPD and LAFD in scenario based drills that role-played real life situations.
“Situations like this are happening all too often,” CSUN PD Officer, Virgil Messmore said. “It gives us the ability to train with agencies that if something like this were to occur we would be actually working with.”
The drills were held in two sessions, rotating officers so that as many as possible had a chance to role-play an active shooter situation.
“[We’re] preparing for the worst – obviously we don’t want to respond to incidents like this,” said Senior Rangemaster David Keathley, who is in charge of training. “It’s role-playing and trying to make it as real life as possible so if unfortunately it does happen we aren’t second guessing and not knowing what to do.”
CSUN PD has provided the Get Out, Hide Out, Help Out, and Fight! method and a video on what to do in an active shooter situation. On Feb. 16, CSUN experienced a scare when a snapchat video of a pistol on the dashboard of a car on campus was posted.
“In that situation, there wasn’t an imminent danger,” said Chief of CSUN PD, Anne P. Glavin. “The thing we didn’t do [on Feb. 16] is we should have passed a message faster, but we were totally investigating the whole time before that video even went viral. We believed that it wasn’t a real threat at all.”
Northridge Academy High School sits on campus and is a partnership between CSUN and Los Angeles Unified School District. In the wake of the social media post, LAUSD’s Chief of Police, Steven K. Zipperman released a letter regarding school safety on Feb. 20.
“The recent tragic events involving school shootings has understandably created anxiety and concern regarding overall school safety. I want to assure you that the dedicated police officers serving (LAUSD) are committed to providing protection…,” the letter states. This includes immediately responding to safety threats received, including those from social media.”
The letter details what parents and guardians can do to help: talking with their children about this issue, monitoring their social media, reaching out to a professional if they notice abnormal behavior in their children, if they own a firearm to keep it locked away and ensuring their children do not have access to their firearms.
On campus there are “Workplace Violence and Surviving an Active Shooter Incident Workshop[s]” held on April 10, April 17, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Department of Police Services, 2nd Floor Training Room, Darby Avenue and Prairie Street.
*Additional reporting by: Daisy Orozco