By Mary O’KEEFE
Rosemont Middle School may have been closed to seventh and eighth graders on Monday but it was still a place of learning. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department used the school as a place for an active shooting training session.
The department’s Special Enforcement Bureau, the sheriff’s version of SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) trained deputies in how to respond to a person with a gun at the school.
The day began with a lecture on what to expect during training and ended with a summary of what went right and what went wrong.
Trainees were from the department of custody. Deputies played the roles of shooters and/or students. Those being trained were from the parks departments and patrol deputies from areas like Altadena and the City of Industry as well as the Crescenta Valley station, said Sgt. Scott Gibson.
The scenario began with an armed man or woman walking the halls. Then the sound of gunfire echoed throughout the hallways, then voices were heard yelling, “Help!” and “There’s someone with a gun.”
Deputies cautiously moved up the stairways and down the halls as they communicated with each other about the shooter. When they found him or her there was sometimes simulated “gunfire” exchanged using Simunition, a small paintball-type pellet. Other times the shooter laid down his gun and deputies made the arrest.
“The training is taking place [at the school] but the same tactics can be used at local businesses as well,” said Capt. Dave Silversparre.
Rosemont Middle School Principal Cynthia Livingston and school staff members watched the exercise.
“It was reassuring to see the sheriff’s department train,” Livingston said.
She added that the community was lucky to have deputies who were so well prepared.