FAIRFIELD — Angie Dooley sat in a dark corner of the Solano Community College stage Thursday morning. One by one, with guns drawn, members of the Fairfield Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team passed by.
“He went that way,” Dooley told each as she pointed to the back of the stage.
Dooley was one of several Solano College students taking part in the countywide SWAT team training at the college.
The event was hosted by the Solano County Office of Emergency Services. Training was done by personnel from Fulcrum Concepts of Yorktown, Va.
Jesse Horsley worked with the Fairfield SWAT team. The exercise: Secure the safety of theater patrons after an “incident” inside the theater.
“The first thing you do is clear the doorway,” Horsley told them. “Look for threats. Things that aren’t natural.”
The idea was to push the team out of its comfort zone.
Outside the theater, surrounded by yellow crime-scene tape, team members discussed strategy before getting the signal that it was time to enter.
When all team members were in place in the theater, Horsley stopped the exercise and shared some of his observations and how things could be done in a more safe and timely way.
“Let’s keep moving,” he said, telling the SWAT team to continue.
When they reached the back of the stage. Horsley had more thoughts and sent the group out front again.
“Today is all about repetition,” he had told the teams during a safety briefing.
The SWAT team made its second entrance into the theater.
“You guys are tight,” Horsley told them. “That’s great for speed. I’d like to see your heads up a little more.”
The drill simulated a school takeover, hostage and mass-casualty incident.
“This is the hardest room we will be in today,” Horsley told them before sending them out with the announcement that the building’s upstairs were now in play.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, with members from the Suisun City and Dixon police departments, trained as well as Vacaville Police Department’s SWAT team and the Vallejo police SWAT team, which has members from the Benicia Police Department.
The goal was for the agencies to see their strengths and areas where they needed to improve, said Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Snedeker.
“We want to make it real life,” he said.
Students such as Dooley, who lives in Fairfield, were recruited from criminal justice classes to play a variety of roles.
Vacaville residents Colby Campbell and Helen Woods both aspire to careers with the California Highway Patrol and jumped at the chance to role play.
“The more experience, the better,” Campbell said.
Law enforcement agencies weren’t the only ones getting training. The staff at the Kroc Center in Suisun City has its disaster training on site, inside the Emergency Canteen mobile food truck. Lunch for 200 was to be cooked at the Kroc Center and brought to the canteen.
“We want to keep our emergency service providers well fed,” said Capt. Jonathan Harvey of the Salvation Army.
“You can’t be prepared enough,” Jowel Laguerre, the college’s president and superintendent. “We want to be as ready as we can in case an emergency happens.”
Laguerre said he was pleased the college could work with the agencies that serve as the college’s first responders.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.