South Bay schools, police join for school safety training

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Chula Vista police officers joined teachers and administrators from the Sweetwater Union High School District for school safety training Thursday.

District spokesperson Manny Rubio said the training was planned before the Florida school shooting but took on a sense of added urgency with that tragedy.

“It’s a reminder why this training is important," said Rubio.

More Coverage of the Florida school massacre

Groups gathered in a warehouse to take part in the training, that included school lock-down drills and active-shooter scenarios, along with plans and techniques to handle other dangerous situations on campuses. Police say they study shooting incidents and emergencies at schools across the country to develop response plans.

“We’ve continued to evolve up to today's most recent incidents. We learn from every single one and modify our tactics, taking a more proactive stance, training teachers and administrators what to do because they need to know what to do before the police arrive there,” said Chula Vista police Capt. Vern Sallee.

Some students in Florida say there were warning signs about the suspected shooter. Rubio said watching out for such signs is part of being prepared.

“We’ve spent long hours over the past few years looking at people’s social media, looking at their work in class -- some of the signs that might be out there. We train so we aren’t dealing with a mass casualty-type event like what happened yesterday," said Rubio.

Police also had a message for parents to pass along to their kids.

“Talk to them about what it is to be a responsible person -- what to do when see something wrong. They need to report it," said Sallee.

This is the sixth year the district has joined with police for school safety training.