SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - There was renewed attention Wednesday to active-shooter training at UC Santa Cruz following the tragedy in Northern California, where six people were killed and 10 others injured. There is often a big difference between a shooter situation that unfolds at an elementary school versus a college campus but UC Santa Cruz police say they examine these incidents so they are as ready as they can be for any type of emergency situation.
The most recent active-shooter training was held in June. Police and first responders from at least 22 different agencies went through several different scenarios, all based on real-life incidents.
“Every year we are learning, unfortunately, about things that are happening across the nation and we take information from those events and we try to incorporate them in some way as lessons learned,” said Chief Nader Oweis with UC Santa Cruz.
More than 200 miles south of Tehama County, UC Santa Cruz student Luba Kaplanskaya said she's changed the way she goes about her daily life after hearing about so many deadly shootings.
"I feel like over time, I’ve just become more paranoid. At concerts and festivals, big gatherings, parades, I am always thinking now, 'Anyone here could have a gun,'” said Kaplanskaya.
These days, the third-year student said she feels like she is always on guard.
"I think being really aware in all situations, not being on your phone as much and being more mindful and just looking around at people, assessing situations,” said Kaplanskaya.
Being aware is a wise move, according to Oweis, and it is exactly what his officers tell students and community members in several active-shooter outreach classes. They've been holding these for the last three years.
"You've already planned out what you may do in a situation, you are aware of what's going on around and if need be, you know how to take action,” said Oweis.
Santa Cruz City Schools also hold regular training exercises with staff and teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The local police, sheriff's department and school resource officers are all involved. The superintendent also said students in all grades participate in regular drills.