SANTA MONICA — From September through November, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has been providing enhanced active shooter training to all of its personnel to more effectively respond to mass shooting scenarios.
The enhanced training program is in response to the incident on June 7, where 23-year-old John Zawahri went on a shooting spree that killed five people and injured six. The police were able to respond swiftly and effectively, working with the Santa Monica College Police Department (SMCPD) to kill the shooter before he could take any more lives. However, the SMPD seeks to improve its response abilities even further.
Officers are usually able to reach a scene in just one minute and respond to the threat as soon as three or four officers arrive, according to Sergeant Jay Moroso. “Once on scene, the enhanced training will enable officers to work in several groups as a large unified force to cover more quickly,” Moroso told Canyon News. “This will enable officers to locate the threat and respond to it quicker.” This is especially important if the gunman is moving at a rapid pace over a large area.
Officers from both SMPD and SMCPD have been receiving “active shooter” training. “Active shooter” refers to an individual who kills in a confined and populated area with no particular selection of their victims. Officers who are “active shooter” trained are capable of responding rapidly to active shooters like Zawahri and are able to focus their priorities on subduing the perpetrator.
Members of the Santa Monica Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) personnel have already been receiving training on these new tactics, so they will be sharing their skills with SMPD and SMCPD officers.