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Linda hostage drama just a drill
A two-day law enforcement training exercise ended Friday with a hunt for an active would-be shooter at a site officers described as perfect — the closed Peach Tree Mall in Linda.
"They're going to the sound of gunfire," California Highway Patrol Officer Joe Ortiz said of law enforcement involved in the training.
Smoke, flashing lights, alarms and loud music simulated the chaos officers face in the search for a shooter at sites, including malls, movie theaters or schools.
Officers, using simulated weapons and wearing protective gear, headed toward a series of darkened rooms where role players screamed for help and told of a shooter.
"It's all about having that stress inoculation," Ortiz said of the Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response — or LASER — training.
The instruction is for first responders — officers working beats — who reach the shooting scene.
Door entry techniques and team hallway mov ment were among the lessons that included classroom work.
In one scenario, officers exchanged fire with a shooter down the hallway of Yuba County's former Child Protective Services offices, then charged down the corridor passing murals of hot air balloons and a smiling sun as rap music blared.
Firefighters, Explorer cadets and Caltrans volunteers undertook the role of hostages for the training.
Two dozen officers from the CHP, Sutter County Sheriff's Department and Roseville Police Department attended the training. A Department of Homeland Security grant received by CHP through Louisiana State University funded the training.
The Highway Patrol sent several instructors to a course put on by LSU. One of the grant requirements is to train allied agencies. The goal of the CHP is to have every Highway Patrol officer receive the active shooter training.
Twenty-six people were killed in the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles outside of New York. Twelve people died in July 20 shootings at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.
CHP Officer Brian Danielson said the history of shooters reaches back to 1927 when a Michigan farmer bombed a school house and then shot firefighters responding to the scene.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at email@example.com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.