Lake Forest Park Police training exercise involved 200 volunteers, participants, and observers

Monday, October 13, 2014

Traffic was detoured around the exercise
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

On September 29, 2014 the Lake Forest Park Police Department, in partnership with the Shoreline School District and the Northshore Fire Department, hosted an Active Shooter full scale exercise at Lake Forest Park Elementary school on Ballinger Way. The school was closed for a teacher work day.

The overall scenario was a shooter in the elementary school. Police ran four scenarios - two in the morning and two in the afternoon, with the two in the afternoon having the more active involvement of the Northshore Fire department.

Volunteers in green vest wait for the exercise to begin
Orange vest are administrative staff
Fire fighters in the middle
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Over a year in the planning, this exercise tested the response capacity of the police department, the ability of multiple agencies to work together in an emergency situation, and Rescue Taskforce concept of the fire department. 

Over the course of the day, there were over 200 volunteers, participants, and observers making this the largest event of its kind ever conducted in the City.

Police waiting for the Go signal
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Scenarios are set up to be realistic situations that emergency services might need to face. Police do not shoot bullets and they use smoke bombs in place of tear gas, but otherwise participants treat the scenarios like the real thing. Adrenaline runs high.

According to City Administrator Pete Rose, "Captain Paul Armbrust was the incident commander, and performed exceptionally well. The police department is well prepared to address an issue of this magnitude."
Steve Sutton is Chief of the Police department.

Emergency Management personnel directed traffic
Photo by Steve Robinson

Police and Fire generally hold separate debriefings right after the exercise, to get the immediate reactions of participants. Within a few days, the leaders meet with ESCA emergency management and other key players to go over the entire exercise. Data from the exercises is studied for years, as the departments involved seek to improve responses and resolve any issues that arise.

Full-scale exercises are held only every four to five years.

Corrected for date of exercise 10-13-2014 7:41am


Anonymous,  October 13, 2014 at 7:37 AM  

It was done on September 30 not, October...

Capt. Jim Dermody (SPD Narcotics Section Cmdr.),  October 13, 2014 at 8:34 PM  

Chief Sutton,

Well done leading from the front. There's no substitute for allowing other agency representatives to experience scenarios before the real ones occur. You provided immense value to the LFP community's families and school staff. Your time at WSP's Homeland Security has added tremendous value to your Department's preparation.

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