Drill to take place at John Adams Middle School Friday morning
By Sam Catanzaro
An active shooter training will take place at a Santa Monica middle school Friday.
According to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) and Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) will conduct the training on Friday, June 24. The training will start at 7 a.m. at the John Adams Middle School campus, 2425 16th Street. Officials will close 16th Street during the drills. According to the SMPD, “reasonable” accommodations will be provided for residents who reside in the direct training area and who are parked on 16th Street. In addition, several classroom buildings, along with the Boys & Girls Club facility on the school campus will be involved in this drill.
“Neighbors may hear the sound of gunfire and communications from law enforcement and drill participants during these drills. We want to ensure the community is safe during these drills that prepare our law enforcement for all threats to our schools, staff and students, including for active shooters. No live weapons or ammunition will be used in this drill,” Drati said. “We appreciate SMPD and SMFD’s interest in protecting our students and staff and continue to work with them to bring the highest level of safety to our school environments.”
Beginning around 7:00 a.m., firefighters and police officers will begin preparation, with the training exercise beginning at 8:30 a.m.
“Although we will only simulate emergency activity, we have smoke simulations which will look real, and you may hear the use of simunitions by our police officers. Simunitions are simulated ammunition that are intended to allow realistic training using non-lethal projectiles that will give off a sound. We assure you that this material is only a prop and is non-toxic. Additionally, the simulated smoke is a product that is used during movie productions and during Halloween. All simunitions and additional props will not endanger our public or our employees,” the SMPD and SMFD said in a joint statement. “Drills such as this allow your firefighters and police officers to learn the limits of their equipment and tactics in an educational, non-emergency environment. This type of training is what allows police officers and firefighters to hone their skills and sharpen our teamwork in preparation for real emergencies where seconds count and there is little room for error.”
According to Drati, the following deterrents, measures and practices are currently in place at all SMMUSD schools:
- Secure fencing around all schools
- Monitored ingress and egress during school hours
- Controlled access through front entry gates with campus security at secondary schools
- Support of SMPD patrolling our community
- Video cameras at schools
- Safety plan at each school for emergencies, including lockdown and shelter in place plans
- Regular school drills for various threats, including violence, earthquake and fire
- Intrusion alarm systems and bell / clock / public address systems updates
- Visitor management system, Raptor, to check campus visitors
- Visits and discussions on best practices with local authorities
- Emergency bins on all campuses
- Threat assessment protocols at school sites
- Mental health programming and awareness
- WeTip hotline for reporting suspicious activity or concerns (urgent need call 911)
- Calling 911 in case of emergency