Police train for mass violence, hope it never happens

By From page A1 | December 15, 2012

FAIRFIELD — Fairfield police officials say the department is prepared to respond to incidents such as Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut, though it’s training they hope never gets used.

Every Fairfield police officer on the street and on different assignments in the department receives regular active shooter training, Police Chief Walt Tibbet said. That means they learn how to work together to locate and stop a shooter.

He mentioned the 2011 shooting in a Green Valley home that left three people dead and one injured. The shooter shot and injured himself and later died, though officers didn’t know the situation when they responded. Tibbet said Fairfield used patrol officers only, something a lot of agencies would be unable to do.

The Police Department works with the school district, Tibbet said. That work extends from doing threat assessments to having resource officers at the high schools and one for the middle schools. Beat officers pay attention to all the campuses, including the elementary schools, he said.

Lt. Greg Hurlbut said the Police Department alerts a school a couple of times a year to an incident that police are dealing with nearby. That often leads to a lockdown at the school. The department doesn’t want criminal activity occurring in the area to spill over onto a campus, he said.

School resource officers at the high schools work with the schools to coordinate a response plan, Hurlbut said. Police have the layouts of schools, know where the keys are and know what systems are in place for locating students and parents.

Tibbet also stressed prevention. Often in school shooting cases, details later emerge about the shooter and the conflicts, threats and relationships that happened prior to the incident. People need to pay attention to these signs and report them early on, he said.

“That’s truly the way we’re going to prevent this,” Tibbet said.

Tibbet said the Fairfield Police Department provides its officers with the best training that exists in the nation as far as responding to an ongoing threat of violence or mass casualty.

“I feel we’re very well-prepared to respond to it,” Tibbet said. “I just hope we never have to.”

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 3 comments

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  • A. Michael HuntDecember 15, 2012 - 9:31 am

    You should've asked him when the last time the officers had that training. I was told (by someone that works there) there out of compliance because its been awhile.

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  • Rick WoodDecember 15, 2012 - 9:57 am

    Nonetheless, good work by the DR getting a local story out so quickly so we can have this discussion. Notice this isn't Barry's usual beat? I hope someone from PD comments here to respond to that rumor.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensDecember 15, 2012 - 9:38 am

    The porkers are useless wastes of resources and its very apparent now that all their expensive extravagant armored vehicles, assault weapons, commando training, chemical weapons, ridiculous disproportionate salaries and an adoring government-media complex cant stop madmen intent on doing evil. To compound the problem, the same failed overreaching government insists that only they be allowed to possess weapons and the second amendment (prescribed / ordained to protect us from them!) and the rest of the Constitution are the impediment to our safety--just give us more money and absolute tyrannical power and we ''guarantee'' you will be safe--and bonded into perpetual SLAVERY.

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