By David S. Nichols, Chief Deputy Administrator
Region North, Division of Adult Parole Operations
When a man began a shooting rampage across a quiet county in Northern California, agents from the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) were there to answer the call for assistance.
On Nov. 14, an active shooter was reported at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School located in a rural area of Tehama County. Mutual aid was requested for all available law enforcement in the area to respond. Parole Agents Daniel Carroll, George Checa, Matt Ledbetter and Matt Mauck responded to the scene with other initial responders. As the situation escalated in the county, a second request for law enforcement assistance was broadcast and Parole Agents Joe Eldridge, Lance Nystrom, Brad Putnam, and Parole Agent II Supervisor Trevor Hatley responded.
For Agent Mauck, answering the call for help meant preventing the loss of life. Rather than run away from the shooting, Mauck and his team ran into the area of danger.
“The thought was one thing only, to help our local community and help prevent the taking of human life by using the highest level of training to stop the shooter from hurting children and the people of the community,” he recalls. “My role was to respond to where the shooter was and assist the local agencies help set the perimeter to isolate and contain an area where the shooter was known to be, and assist in maintaining a safe and secure crime scene area.”
DAPO responders were instrumental in securing multiple crime scenes, rendering aid to victims as well as handling security for the command post and perimeter.
“I assisted on the perimeter communicating with the parents and family members of the local area trying to reassure that the situation that was unfolding was under control, and that medical staff and first responders were doing everything they could to help the injured,” he said. “The agencies that responded worked well together and responded as quickly to the scene as possible. From what I could hear on the radio, it was apparent all agencies were well-trained and prepared for what was happening.”
The presence of DAPO Agents allowed for key personnel to be relieved from their initial response positions and the activation of an interagency SWAT team. While this tragic incident resulted in the deaths of five innocent victims and injured 18 others, the rapid response of all agencies involved prevented this tragedy from being any worse than what it was.
After the incident, DAPO’s Peer Support Program (PSP) was activated and provided PSP services to multiple agencies involved.
The PSP services provided by Parole Service Associate (PSA) Karen Day, Parole Agent III Jennifer Cross, Parole Agent I Brad Putnam and Office Technician Tina Moore were essential in helping impacted staff cope with the tragedy. Several of the involved allied agencies do not have an in-house PSP and were very appreciative of the services DAPO provided.
Agent Mauck is thankful for the rapid response from CDCR and DAPO.
“I would like to thank our DAPO for the proactive response that was taken by our Unit Supervisor Bill Harrison and our Administration for the fast deployment of our state Parole Agents to the scene the moment they heard of the public need to help save lives,” he said.