ONTARIO (CBSLA.com) — A large-scale training exercise brought police and fire personnel and other agencies together Sunday at Ontario International Airport.
CBS2’s Greg Mills said the drill involved the response to a gunman with an automatic weapon shooting people inside the airport terminal.
The exercise included all Los Angeles World Airports police officers as well as Los Angeles fire and police personnel, TSA agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The drill took place one day after the first anniversary of the shooting death of TSA Agent Gerardo Hernandez in Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport. Airport police and the Los Angeles Fire Department were under fire for the way they handled the incident.
“We really needed to work better as far as tactical emergency medical service,” said Airport Police Chief Pat Gannon. “We had to improve on command and control issues.”
Hernandez died before paramedics could try to save him, and it appeared no emergency rescue plan was in place. In Sunday’s drill, four paramedics had five police officers escort them to the victims.
There were also issues about who was in charge after Hernandez’s shooting last year when the airport police, LAPD, the Fire Department and LAX airport operations all set up command centers. In the Sunday drill, one unified command center called all the shots.
At the start of Sunday’s drill officers only knew that shots had been fired inside the terminal — they did not know how many shooters there were, nor where they were located. Panicked passengers ran out of the terminal while officers moved in in to get the gunman.
Experts watched their every move during Sunday’s exercise because they want the officers trained to act decisively if LAX or Ontario ever faces this kind of threat.