Culver City Edition Lead Story Local News

Airport conducts first active shooter exercise

LOS ANGELES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations at Los Angeles International Airport, in conjunction with federal and local law enforcement agencies, medical emergency services and industry partners, successfully conducted the first-ever large-scale active shooter drill at LAX’s Terminal 4 March 26 and 27.

With more than 300 participants representing 12 federal and local agencies, including law enforcement officers, medical first responders, volunteers and support personnel, the exercise demonstrated response capabilities, coordination and communications during the first 20 minutes of a mass casualty incident.

“An exercise of this scope empowers responders to react decisively and save valuable time protecting lives including their own,” said Carlos C. Martel, director of field operations in Los Angeles for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Active shooter incidents are dynamic and evolve quickly, therefore a coordinated law enforcement response is critical to stop the aggressive action of a shooter and mitigate harm to potential victims.”

The exercise, conducted during non-operational hours, consisted of two active shooter scenarios, one at the baggage area and a second one at an aircraft stationed at the gate. The scenarios were comprised of 28 repetitive appointments each lasting approximately 45 minutes. The two-day exercise lasted a total of 16 hours.

“[Our office] is extremely grateful with the support and participation of our law enforcement partners, medical responders and volunteers in this critical exercise,” said Donald R. Kusser, Customs and Border Protection port director at Los Angeles International Airport. “In actual emergencies interagency coordination is critical as active shooter incidents are one of the most dangerous situations facing law enforcement today.”

In addition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agencies participating in the exercise included the Los Angeles World Airports Police, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Federal Air Marshall Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, Transportation Security Agency, Los Angeles World Airports and American Airlines.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is continually assessing the capabilities of airport facilities and has been making — and will continue to make — necessary preparations. Preparations include participating in operational readiness exercises and the mobilization of resources, as needed, to ensure the facilitation of lawful trade and travel.

The agency’s highest priority is the safety and security of the American people, the traveling public, agency personnel and the communities served by the agency, an official statement said.

Wave Staff Report