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Program Trains Community College Employees To Help Police Stop Active Shooters

Photo by Matthew Bowler

San Diego Community College District police officers and San Diego police officers train to fight campus shooters at City College, Jan. 13, 2016.

Aired 1/18/16 on KPBS News.

A new program at the San Diego Community College District trains officers and college employees to fight back against campus shooters.

A new program is training police and civilians to work together to combat an active shooter on a college campus.

San Diego Community College police Officer Richard Ferrel said the training aims to lower casualty rates.

As part of the training, police hold an exercise using exploding flash bang grenades and smoke bombs to lend an air of reality.

“In the beginning everyone is shocked,” Ferrell said. “We’re showing you how dangerous and all the statistics of all the casualties and then we show them why there’s so many casualties and then we show them how to change that.”

The San Diego Community College Police Department has been training for such a scenario for seven years but the program to train all district employees is new. It’s called ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

Employees are being taught to fight back against attackers, and Ferrell said for the first time officers and employees are training together.

“Both parties get to learn how they are going to interact during an active killing situation,” Ferrell said.

Roslyn Cruz works in City College’s Child Development Center. She said even though the training was only pretend it drove home a lot of fear.

“Once you heard the gunshots going off, the bombs, you felt this adrenaline,” Cruz said. “OK, what am I going to do if somebody walks in here,” Cruz said. “How am I going to help protect the children that are here? How am I going to get home to my family? What do I need to do to do that?"

Ferrell said would be attackers want to victimize the most vulnerable.

“They’re hate harvesters,” Ferrell said. “They’ve bundled up all the wrongs in their lives and they go out and use violence. They’re looking for targets that are helpless and aren’t going to resist.”

But with the proper training college employees can be better trained to help thwart an attack.

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