NEWS/ POLICE — Last week’s all-day emergency exercise at TRU has been pronounced a success.
“We are very pleased with the overall outcome,” Staff-Sgt. Mike Savage, who was the primary coordinator of the exercise, said today.
The scenario involved a shooting incident on campus.
The multi-agency exercise last Thursday took more than two years of planning and eight hours to carry out.
Preparations at the campus kicked off at 6 a.m. with a perimeter of police tape being strung, roads and parking lots being blocked off, and actors being made up to look the part of injured victims.
At about 10 a.m., a call about a suspicious, gold colored, SUV and its three occupants approaching the Clock Tower at TRU officially started one of the largest joint operation emergency-response training exercises seen in British Columbia.
Marked and unmarked police cars converged at the scene as police learned that shots had been fired inside the building. Other emergency response agencies were dispatched to the scene to assist, as police entered the building and engaged the three suspects in a gun fight. Eight and a half hours later, the last actor was safe and the campus was again secure.
The exercise involved 400 participants and observers, some from as far as Ottawa. The scenario was designed to test the various agencies’ ability to respond and see how communications flowed between the responders.
“For the RCMP we were looking specifically at our Immediate Action/Rapid Deployment response, Rescue & Recovery effectiveness, and how we structured our command & control,” said Cpl. Cheryl Bush.
About 100 RCMP personnel were involved in the planning, observing and policing roles of the exercise.
An evaluation process was put into place to follow up on the exercise and the evaluations have been reviewed during debriefs over the past week. Bush said the shortcomings that were identified, were strictly due to the limitations of a scenario setting, and would have been in place if this were an actual situation.
“It was very rewarding to experience all the things that went exactly as they should have. You can never simulate a situation 100 per cent equivalent to a real event.
“When you consider time, resources, safety, logistics, and human dynamics, you can only make it as real these things allow. This was perhaps the greatest stumbling block, but one that was anticipated and discussed during debriefings to ensure that whatever limitations were in place during the exercise, would not have been limitations in a real situation.”