LOS ANGELES—“I’m heartbroken for the victims, unfortunately this could easily happen anywhere in Los Angeles County at any time,” said Sheriff Villanueva.
On Monday, August 5, 2019, in response to growing concerns in Los Angeles County regarding recent mass shooting incidents in Gilroy, CA, El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, Sheriff Alex Villanueva hosted a media briefing to discuss LASD response systems in place and to provide active shooter survival methods for the public.
Sergeant Mike Harding, from the LASD Tactics and Survival Training Unit discussed the evolution of, and current active shooter response training that deputies have adopted, called Enhanced Active Shooter Strategies. These methods have enhanced response times. “We are constantly improving and changing our protocols based on current tactics being employed by bad guys,” said Sergeant Mike Harding.
Sergeant Harding discussed what the public can do if they are confronted by an active shooter threat—RUN, HIDE, FIGHT. In fighting, everyday objects around them become weapons—scissors, flashlights; anything can become a defensive tool in a life or death situation.
Detective Jason Ames, LASD Trainer for Basic Tactical Medicine, discussed “mass casualty response bags,” which if deployed, can speed up medical treatment if the scene isn’t safe or medical personnel have not yet arrived on scene.
Detective Scott Miller of Major Crimes Bureau discussed LASD’s ongoing involvement with the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms, investigating armed prohibited persons in a targeted attempt to remove dangerous firearms from those who should not have them.
Deputies in varying tactical uniforms were presented in protective gear and available weaponry, including deputies from the department’s Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) (commonly referred to as S.W.A.T. by other police departments).
Captain Joseph Williams from the Special Enforcement Bureau, discussed the myriad of SEB teams and their responsibilities, and the advanced life support aircraft, which are available for deployment 24 hours.
LASD also actively monitors online websites, social media and popular public forums for potential active shooter threats.
The LASD Video Production Unit, which falls under the umbrella of Training Bureau, is an in-house video production unit staffed by sworn and professional staff with experience in the television industry. They produce public service announcements, training films, and coordinate livestreaming and filming of ceremonial events, academy graduations and press conferences. Their first Emmy Award nomination came in 2016 for the “Surviving an Active Shooter” public service announcement video. The videos are available in English and Spanish (below), which is translated with the title “Pistolero Activo.”
The pieces were produced with no tax payer money other than salary of Video Production Unit personnel. Fundraising, and the donation of location sites and talents also help keep production costs low. As an example of this, the recently-released “Pistolero Activo” was produced with the help of, and thanks to, Spanish language newscasters Romi DeFrias and Jovanny Huerta, who donated their time and talents to translate the script and perform voiceovers.