LAKEWOOD (CBSLA) — Deputies in tactical helmets had their guns drawn as they ran across the campus of Hoover Middle School, while others dragged bloody bodies to safety. But it wasn’t an active shooter situation – it was an active shooter drill.
Tuesday’s drill involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Long Beach Unified School District police had been in the works for months. But the drill took on new urgency in the wake of two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas over the weekend.
“Every training we have is very important in regards to what we do. But it really drives home…because of the recent loss of life,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Harding said.
The drill included casualties and first responders had to rescue people acting as victims – some being dragged away from buildings, bloody dolls being carried away, while others were treated for realistic-looking injuries. Officers fired off “simunition rounds” or paint projectiles that were fired from modified pistols capable of causing injuries.
The training exercise was held just weeks before Southern California schools resume classes for the fall. In San Bernardino, students arriving Monday for the first day of school at North Park Elementary, where a shooting killed a teacher and a student two years ago, with the weekend mass shootings casting a pall over their excitement.
“We know that we are still living in a very challenging society. Our hearts go out to the people in El Paso and the people in Dayton,” San Bernardino Unified School District spokeswoman Linda Bardere said. “We know that since 2017, when our own community was struck, we all have taken a heightened sense of urgency to make sure our campuses our safe and secure.”