Riverbank residents and passersby at the high school campus on Sunday, March 17 may have been startled to see police and fire officials moving about the grounds. They were participating in ‘Active Shooter’ drills for most of the day.
Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies, S.W.A.T. team, youth and community volunteers, and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District observed St. Patrick’s Day with two sessions of the exercises, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Officials warned parents and the community in the week leading up to the event in a variety of ways, both directly and with posts on social media outlets such as Facebook.
In doing so, Dr. Sean Richey, RHS principal, noted, “The safety of all students and staff at Riverbank High School is always of utmost importance. To that end, staff and students participate in fire drills and other emergencies to prepare for crisis events.”
The active shooter training event was put on by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and its S.W.A.T. team.
Richey told parents, “The purpose of this training is to provide realistic scenarios of active shooters for police personnel and to provide the opportunity to train in case of an active shooter event on a school campus.”
Deputies from the Riverbank Sheriff’s Station and police officers from the surrounding communities were to take part in the training for the full day.
All participants were required to take part in safety training before participating in the event, before each scenario.
Sheriff’s officials said blank shots and ‘flash-bang’ devices were utilized to provide realistic elements during the training.
Richey said officials expected to use about 50 volunteers to carry out the scenarios.
“Although we hope never to be in an active shooting situation, recent history has taught that this type of event happens anywhere, at any time and it is our responsibility to prepare ourselves.” Richey noted.
The morning of the drills, the Sheriff’s department reminded the public of the event, stressing the training was not open to the public, and reiterated the use of explosive devices, saying there was “no need to be alarmed if you hear any sounds of explosions coming from the high school.”
Following the event, the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department commented, “Today, Stanislaus Engine 26 trained with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and Stanislaus S.W.A.T. Association on active shooter response. The training occurred at Riverbank High School. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in today and need to be prepared for. Saving lives is our Number 1 priority.”