EL CENTRO, Calif. – “An individual with a firearm came into the facility, shot an employee, and took several other employees into a hostage situation,” Border Patrol Agent Salvador Zamora said that’s a scenario they never want to see happen, but if it ever does, they want to be ready for it.
That’s why the Border Patrol El Centro Sector held a mock active shooter drill.
“This gives us an opportunity to prepare, train and equip our personnel,” Zamora said.
Those involved had to respond effectively to the situation and communicate with about four local law enforcement and medical agencies.
“But in a real world scenario you may have 15 or 20 across the Imperial Valley,” Zamora said.
They were looking to evaluate specific areas in order to improve them.
“Something as simple as equipment, tactics, response,” Zamora said.
This was the second drill they’ve conducted within a year. It’s a response to active shooter scenarios that have occurred recently.
“Whether it’s something that’s happening in the schools, active shooter situation at schools,” Zamora said.
This drill was recorded for careful study and evaluation.
“That after action review is critical because this is where we piece meal on the timeline who did what and when and what can we be more efficient in,” Zamora said.
The last time border patrol responded to a county-wide emergency was after the earthquake on April of 2010 that had a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter Scale.
“We not only responded with personnel, with emergency medical aid, “ Zamora said.
Over 100 people participated in this drill.
“So when we do have a real-world scenario we will respond efficiently and effectively,” Zamora said.
Officials say they will continue to learn from these drills, which they say is time well spent if in the end it saves lives.