Revamped training preps Five Cities First Responders for active shooter events

Revamped training preps Five Cities First Responders for active shooter events

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - If you live near Arroyo Grande High School, you likely noticed a heavy law enforcement presence Tuesday and heard bangs that sounded like gunshots or explosions.

While there's no need to be concerned, the Gilroy Garlic Festival was on the minds of Five Cities officers, paramedics, firefighters, and park rangers during a seemingly routine drill.

"In light of a lot of the events that have taken place over the last several years, it's really important that we continue the skillset," said Michael Martinez, Arroyo Grande Police Department Commander. 

While this was all just a simulation, guns drawn while kids evacuate in sheer terror, is a scene that's become all too common in recent years nationwide.

"Realistically even though it doesn't happen very often it's a skillset that you need to be prepared for at any time," said Martinez. 

Unfortunately, it happened just up the 101 a couple days ago and even though this active shooter training exercise was planned in advance, long before the tragedy in Gilroy, it only highlights just how vital these drills are. 

"Even though this is something that we do on an annual basis, philosophies constantly change even most recently, in light of some of the events that have taken place, the philosophies have changed in the way we respond to some of these events," said Martinez. 

Officials say some 3,000 students pass through Arroyo Grande High School on any given day, making it a universal venue for an active shooter simulation. 

From building entry, breaching doorways, rescuing victims and taking down vehicles, first responders say, just like technology, it's important to stay sharp and on the cutting edge.

"Most recently now we are dealing with a first responder having to make an entry and deal with an active shooter situation on his own over the last couple years, several years back, it wasn't quite the same, that philosophy," said Martinez. 

Arroyo Grande PD hosted this year's training exercise for the Five Cities. 

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