Avenal State Prison staff staged an active shooter training scenario complete with role-playing victims and recorded sounds.

By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/Public Information Officer
Avenal State Prison

Avenal State Prison Warden Rosemary Ndoh and Chief Deputy Warden Paul Vera recognize that preparing for an active shooter is crucial for mitigating a work place violence incident or outside threat in a vulnerable area.

Crisis Response Team Leader Sgt. P. Jensen, along with In Service Training staff, coordinated a full-scale training in the Administrative Building.

All staff previously participated in a one-hour Department of Homeland Security course of Run, Hide, and Fight in order to prepare for the live scenario teaching them tactics to survive an active shooter.

For the live scenario, the Administrative building employees were introduced to the safety officers and given a detailed safety briefing.

An active shooter training drill was held in the Administration Building at Avenal State Prison.

The Administrative staff role players who participated wore safety gear, medical grade Moulage (fake wounds) and acted as victims of the shooter. Also for the scenario, recorded sounds of screams and chaos echoed down the hallway to give stimulus to the responders.

Responding staff including Investigative Services Unit (ISU), IST, Armory, and OP Sergeant were designated responders to the scene. These members have been training with the Crisis Response Team on active shooter response techniques over the past several months. During the scenario, Sgt. Jensen evaluated and assisted the responding staff to ensure safe tactics and search-and-clear techniques were effectively used.

During the scenario, responders had to quickly recognize and communicate with the wounded victims to ascertain the location of the shooter. There were more gun shots (active shooting) and responders tactically moved toward the sound. Once the shooter was located he was engaged with sim-unition (simulated ammunition) rounds, and the threat was neutralized.

ISU team members continued to search and clear the Administrative Building for further possible threats.

After the scene was cleared and safe, responding medical staff coordinated with ASP Fire Department in treating the wounded victims in the designated triage area. At the conclusion of the training, an after-action review was conducted to go over what went well and what could be improved. The participants were very thankful that the institution has a plan in place for this type of attack and appreciated the real-life training.

Many said it gave them an eye-opening experience that they can use to survive an active shooter no matter where it happened.

For more information about dealing with workplace violence go to this intranet site. (This is only accessbile via CDCR computers.)