Nearly five months after the shooting death of Louisiana Schnell School principal Sam LaCara in Placerville, El Dorado County law enforcement staged its annual Active Intruder Training last week, ensuring that all county agencies are prepared for future threats on school campuses.
This year’s training, the ninth annual hosted by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, was held at Oak Meadow Elementary School in El Dorado Hills.
“Any type of training is important; the Active Intruder Training even more so, given the recent events in the county,” said Sheriff John D’Agostini.
In addition to deputies from the Sheriff’s Department, participants from the Placerville Police Department and county probation were on hand for the two-day drill, which concluded Monday.
In all, 75 officers attended the training.
Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Golmitz said Active Intruder Training was first instituted after the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, during which 12 students and one teacher were killed by two of the school’s seniors.
“The Active Intruder Training consists of an intensive, interactive day of instruction where patrol officers and supervisors focus on responding to active threats on a school campus,” said Golmitz in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat. “During the training, the officers reinforce team skills, such as search tactics and rescue techniques.”
Active Intruder Training exposes its participants to a variety of scenarios and on-campus set-ups.
“There’s an old saying that goes, ‘The body can’t go where the mind hasn’t been,’” said D’Agostni. “This is why we do this kind of training, so we can be ready.”
This year, approximately 50 volunteer adults and students acted as role players, adding a greater level of reality to the simulations, Golmitz said.
This year’s training came nearly five months after the shooting death of Louisiana Schnell School principal LaCara, whose death made national headlines.
LaCara, 50, was shot in his office at the Placerville school and died shortly after.
Scanner traffic indicated the shooting suspect, school employee John Harold Luebbers, might still have been armed and on school grounds when officers first responded.
Luebbers, 44, was arrested later that afternoon at his home in El Dorado without incident. He is awaiting trial in the slaying.
“We need to be prepared to respond to all types of incidents,” said D’Agostini. “From a burglary to an incident at a school, we must be prepared for whatever might happen.”