News for April 2008

Full-Scale “mass shooting” exercise at UCCS
April 4, 2008

Area police officers, firefighters and emergency management crews teamed up with UCCS campus police Friday, on a full-scale exercise to test their abilities to handle a gunman on campus. “It’s a worst-case scenario,” says Lt. Lari Sevene of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. But we want to know that we’re prepared to deal with it, that we can get all the resources we need, to have them at the right time.” John Leavitt, a city spokesman, said: “You’ve got the potential for lots of different hostages. That’s always a challenge. You want to try and get the bad guy without hurting the good guys.” The day-long exercise lasted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. While the scenarios were fictional, authorities treated them as real events. The training event is meant to prepare crews in case they’re ever faced with this kind of frightening experience. The following is a layout of the scenario released by police: A caller reports a woman with a gun at UCCS. University Public Safety finds a story that unfolds across campus with a man holding hostages in a separate building. Now, the full force and resources of the city and county are brought to bear in the first full-scale emergency response exercise ever held on campus. The bomb squad is called; city and county tactical units swarm the campus; a HazMat Team searches under armed protection finding toxic materials that must be neutralized. The exercise addressed an “active shooter” scenario as well as the complicating factors of a Toxic Industrial Chemical (TIC) release and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The purpose in conducting the event is to evaluate community response plans, interoperability, law enforcement capabilities, local resource coordination, criminal investigations, public information/media involvement, and multi-agency response. Authorities want to ensure members of the community are aware that in this region and specifically El Paso County, they are taking steps to be well-prepared in the unfortunate event of a large-scale disaster in this community. New County Commissioner Amy Lathen was among elected leaders who observed the exercise, and pointed out areas of concern. “Some people leaving the building without being checked. We don’t have enough people, that’s for sure. But the people we have are well-trained, and they do amazing things with the resources they’ve got.” Another area of improvement involves a goal of the drill–getting information out sooner to the media and the public. Authorities wanted to hold a news briefing one hour after after the first report of trouble, but it took nearly two hours. Authorities planned to provide a brief evaluation of the drill Friday evening, with a more detailed analysis expected next week.

UCCS Center for Homeland Security to develop & deliver STACS
April 28, 2008

CHS has been selected to develop and deliver the Seminar in Transatlantic Civil Security (STACS). The Center has been chosen by the George C. Marshall Center to develop a new multinational and multi-agency executive seminar in civil security challenges. Associate Center Director, Rick White, who has been the lead creative director for the STACS course, will serve on the international facilitation team. The seminar will bring together emergency management, security and defense officials from governments and NGOs from more than 40 countries. The first course begins in July in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Click here for the UCCS new release..