No, those police cars and fire engines at Sierra High School this week aren’t responding to an emergency.
According to the Manteca Police Department, the massive law enforcement and first-responder presence is part of an annual training held in conjunction with the Manteca Unified School District to provide active shooter training to police officers, firefighters, and school personnel in the event that tragedy strikes.
While Manteca Unified has never actually had an active shooter, the drill provides first responders, school staff, and even student volunteers the chance to prepare for the situation if it were to ever arise.
“The training covers a variety of classroom topics including the roles of initial responding units, secondary units, EMS and school staff. After the classroom lectures, they apply these lessons in a practical setting at an area campus. MUSD students volunteer to participate in order to provide emergency responders a more realistic environment for training,” the release from the Manteca Police Department said. “These situations are often very chaotic with limited initial information. The more students and staff we can involve as role players in the training, the better officers, firefighters, and MUSD staff can evaluate their effectiveness should an incident ever occur in our city.
“Early preparation is integral to readiness.”
While Manteca Unified has fortunately never had an active shooter on a school campus, there have been a number of threats in recent years that involved stepped-up police presence as a precaution. In nearly ever one of those instances, police personnel were able to determine that the threat – which almost always came from a social media post – was unfounded, but police still maintained an active presence on the campus in question to quell public fears and ensure student safety.
At the end of the day, it’s student safety that remains the district’s top priority.
“Manteca Unified School District is proud to partner with the Manteca Police Department and the Manteca Fire Department as our organizations work to provide the safest possible environment for students and staff on our campuses,” Manteca Unified said in a statement. “Emergency preparedness trainings, including active shooting drills, are critical to ensure our organizations respond swiftly in moments of action, and we are grateful for the opportunity to support our first responders.”
Later this week the Manteca Police plan on releasing photos and videos of the non-confidential portion of the training to inform the public as to what the week-long exercise actually entailed.
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