Flashbangs exploded. Hostages scrambled. Gunshots echoed throughout the 100 building.
The Livermore-Pleasanton Police SWAT team held a training exercise on the Las Positas campus on April 16 during spring break, seven years to the day of the Virginia Tech shooting.
In the exercise, five disgruntled students upset over their grades came on campus and opened fire on staff and other students.
Ryan Sanchez, a school resource officer, has been on the LPC campus before to talk about making campus safer in the event of an active shooter. Sanchez stressed how important it was to utilize the available resources including the campus safety officers.
“They (campus security) are a key integral part of this whole scenario,” Sanchez said. “We are using their resources because they have a wealth of knowledge.”
During the training, Campus Safety Supervisor Sean Prather and Campus Security Officer Michael Sugi were utilized. Prather spent the training inside the command center. Sugi had his hands full getting maps for SWAT, talking about the interior of the buildings and helping out with extractions.
Sugi knew that the training was going to be going on that day. He wasn’t expecting SWAT to invoke posse comitatus, the conscription of an able-bodied man over the age of 18 to help apprehend a suspect or keep the peace, and bring him into the exercise.
“I thought I was going to be more along the lines of making sure they had proper equipment, if they needed keys maps and that kind of thing,” Sugi said. “I had no idea they were going to pull me into their vehicle and utilize me to start covering flanks. They treated me like I was one of theirs.”
According to Livermore Police Public information officer Steve Gord, the training on campus serves a secondary purpose. In addition to helping the officers learn more about the campus, it helps them mentally prepare for the real event.
“When you know it’s real adrenaline is going to go through the roof,” said Gord. “Here today their adrenaline will only go so high. When the real thing happens it will go up high, but its more manageable.
“The more we practice, the more efficient we will be in a real life encounter.”