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ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILL HELD AT CERRITOS HIGH


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Sheriff's deputies stand atop a department armored vehicle during one of the simulated drills held at Cerritos High School this past Tuesday. The simulated event involved a rapid response by deputy personnel and practical application triage by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Photo by Tammye McDuff.

Sheriff’s deputies stand atop a department armored vehicle during one of the simulated drills held at Cerritos High School this past Tuesday. The simulated event involved a rapid response by deputy personnel and practical application triage by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Photo by Tammye McDuff.

 

By Tammye McDuff

This past Tuesday, Cerritos High School became the scene of an active shooter response drill conducted by the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station, Tactics and Survival training personnel, Special Enforcement Bureau, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The simulated event involved a rapid response by deputy personnel and practical application triage by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The training simulated an actual hostage situation and shooting on the school campus where police and fire personnel responded with  replicated gunfire, explosives, and gas detonations. The L.A. Sheriff S.W.A.T. team and rescue helicopter were also engaged in hostage release and role play injuries.

L.A. County Sheriff S.W.A.T. Team Lieutenant Sue Burakowski stated, “essentially when we encounter a shooter, we are going to respond and assist officers already on the scene. However, should one of the shooters barricade themselves; then we take over at that point and secure the area in a lockdown.”

Burakowski, a 26 year veteran of the L.A. County Sheriffs Station, also said paramedics are called initially to assist with any officers that may have been injured and the Fire Department is also trained to go into a hostage situation. When dealing with a highly populated area, the idea is to minimize the number of casualties and contain the problem.

Taking part of the instructional training was Roland Sprewell, Captain with the L.A. County Fire Department, Homeland Security Division.   “Today is part of our continuing efforts to address a nationwide problem and respond to violent acts within the community,” Sprewell said. “We have literally been inundated with violent acts, acts of terrorism at home and around the world.”

Sprewell stated that the LAFD is defining and working closer with law enforcement across the country to take action. “There was a time that predates Columbine when the fire department would wait two miles out, and we would be called in when the situation was completely cold, losing those people that could have potentially been saved,” stated Sprewell. “We have the responsibility to save lives, thus we have created a way where law enforcement can go in and asses the threat, allowing the LAFD to respond quicker and offer definitive ways to save more lives.”

Daryl Evans, Public Safety Manager for the City of Cerritos and retired Commander of L.A. County Sheriff Department, was on site to observe and assist the Sheriffs’ Station in any way necessary. Evans was assigned to the Special Weapons division for over eight years, “fortunately we have never been involved in any actual school shootings, however the County and its resources are always training for these situations.”

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