Long Beach State Police Department conducted an active shooter drill in the University Student Union Friday, where officers used non-lethal training ammunition and pretend victims wore fake blood to simulate the scenario.
The exercise was a coordination with multiple local agencies such as Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach Fire Department and CSULB Counseling and Psychological Services. It was also aided by the assistance of a large group of volunteers who signed up to play the roles of victims in the staged shooting event.
“I believe a drill such as this clearly demonstrates our intent, and our commitment to fully prepare for a situation like this,” said UPD Chief Fernando Solorzano. “It sends the message out there that we are here for our students, staff and faculty, and we’re willing to go that extra step to better prepare.”
Soon after the exercise began, the “victims” began to rush out of the building into the north lawn, many covered with fake blood to simulate gun-shot injuries.
“They told us ahead of time to be aware that we would have fake blood on us,” said Nadine Douhal, a volunteer who played a shooting victim. “After checking in, we went into a room to get made up with the fake blood. When the drill started, they took those of us on the first floor into the theater, and said, ‘When we tell you guys, start screaming.’”
As SWAT team members stormed the USU to simulate neutralizing the suspect, the mock victims were escorted to the west campus turnaround, where paramedics were standing by to perform emergency triage care.
“I learned a lot about how a situation like this would actually happen,” said Morgan Paddock, a volunteer who pretended to have been shot in the leg. “When the police first arrived, their first job was to neutralize the shooter, not to help victims… because the shooter could keep creating more victims. And when the EMTs did arrive, they had to decide who’s high-priority and who’s not.”
Despite the success of the event, there is still learning to do according to Dean Grose, a pretend victim with mock gun-shot wounds in his chest.
“It was a learning experience, but there’s still a lot of learning to do,” he said. “They didn’t do a lot of things right. I was an immediate care victim but I was the last to be dealt with, I should have been first.”
Grose added, however, that he’s glad scenarios like these are practiced.
“We learn the weaknesses so every time i can get better.”
Austin Brumblay, Editor in chief, contributed to this story.