District offers training in case of shooter on campus

Ricardo Soltero

After news broke of an potential active shooter at the Naval Medical Center San Diego near Balboa Park last month, City College went on full alert but the school remained open as campus police monitored the situation.

How prepared is City College in such situation?

According to the City College website, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Emergency Preparedness Department has developed a campus emergency response team that works in conjunction with district police to act as first responders to emergencies.

Active shooter response program training is being offered for faculty and staff. It began last October — it was originally scheduled for January of this year — after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in which nine people were killed.

Richard Ferrell, a San Diego Community College District police officer, said the training involves a program called ALICE for short, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

“It’s the same concept as the Department of Homeland Security,” he said. “It’s meant to encourage people to do something instead of nothing.”

According to a San Diego Community College District course fliyer, ALICE is based on the premise that information, authorization and proactive training are the keys to surviving an active shooter.

“Training like this is critical in my opinion,” said June Cressy, who was among the first City College staff members to participate in the ALICE training.

“Faculty, staff and students. We are a community. We have a responsibility,” Cressy said. “We have a police force but they can’t be everywhere.The more of us that know what to do, the safer the community.”

“ALICE training is not meant to go out and beat the crap out of someone. It’s to go out and defend yourself when there is no other choice,” said Cressy

Although the training is currently only aimed to prepare faculty, staff and administrative personnel, there is an interest in giving students the chance to participate.

“ALICE is not just for faculty but it is advised for students to look up to instructors for guidance,” said Sgt. Jerome Saludares, also with the district’s police department, in a phone interview.

“But if they happen to be involved in a situation where there is an active shooter, alert all local authorities,” said Saludares.

The district’s police department gave the ALICE training at City College on Jan. 15. Additional trainings will be on Feb. 26 and March 18 at Mesa College and on March 25 at the District Administration Office.

For more information on the ALICE response program and classes contact the Emergency Management Resource Team at [email protected]. For information on safety procedures at City visit sdcity.edu/safetyfirst.