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Sac State to host full-scale, multi-agency mutual aid and active shooter training

Sacramento State's Welcome Center will be a staging area for a daylong training event that will bring multiple first-responder agencies to campus. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price).

Anyone on or near Sacramento State on Monday, March 21, will notice an increased presence of law enforcement officers and other first responders – but there’s no reason to be alarmed.

The University will host multiple local public-safety agencies for full-scale mutual aid and active shooter training, the first exercise of its kind on campus since 2015.

Roughly 60 first responders are expected to participate in the event, which will take place at locations across campus and feature approximately 100 role players acting as students, faculty, and staff in crisis.

Chet Madison
Sacramento State Police Chief Chet Madison said maintaining relationships with other first responders is "vital." (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Sacramento State Police Chief Chet Madison said the goal is to “have a trained, systematic response to mitigate loss of life and position victims to receive medical care in the event something happens on campus.”

That aligns with the University’s overarching work to ensure a safe campus, Madison said, a key priority for Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen.

“We hope we never have to deal with this type of event or incident on campus, but hope is not a solution, and we can’t plan for hope. We can’t rely on hope,” Madison said. “We have to try and infuse and inject these types of trainings so, if this does occur, we are better prepared.”

The opportunity to strengthen University partnerships with other local first responders and ensure effective collaboration during a crisis also is important, he said.

Participating agencies include the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, Sacramento Police Department, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Elk Grove Unified School District Police Department, and Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department.

“We’re a fairly small law enforcement agency on campus, so the relationships and collaborations with the partner agencies that surround our campus is vital,” Madison said.

The training will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and utilize several campus buildings, including the Welcome Center, the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, Eureka Hall, Capistrano Hall, and Shasta Hall. Only certain portions of each building will be closed for the exercise. Training instructors, safety officers, signage, and visible caution tape will help ensure the campus community’s safety during the training.

Madison said Sac State and surrounding agencies have hired new officers and personnel since the 2015 training session. In addition, the campus’ physical layout – knowledge of which is critical for first responders in a crisis – is much different. Both factors point to a need for the March 21 event.

“We have a lot of buildings that have been erected here on campus since 2015 that are new, not only to our campus community but to the first-responding agencies that would respond to campus,” he said. They include the Welcome Center and Science Complex, both venues for the training, as well as Parking Structure 5, the expanded University Union and The WELL, and the Riverview Hall and Hornet Commons student residences.

March 21 is the first day of spring break, which will decrease campus population, but Madison said he wants Sac State and the surrounding community to know of the significant law enforcement presence on campus that day, and to not worry.

“I want to make sure the campus and community are not alarmed by the amount of fire personnel, law enforcement personnel, and other first responders,” he said. “You may have loud sounds coming from the campus, and that's all part of the role players and participants participating in the actual training.”

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About Jonathan Morales

Jonathan Morales joined the Sac State communications team in 2017 as a writer and editor. He previously worked at San Francisco State University and as a newspaper reporter and editor. He enjoys local beer, Bay Area sports teams, and spending time outdoors with his family and dog.

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