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Deputies go to summer school for special training

Posted: July 20, 2009 5:17 p.m.
Updated: July 20, 2009 5:17 p.m.
School may be out for thousands of Santa Clarita Valley youth, but that doesn't stop Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies from working hard in the summer heat to ensure the safety of the students when they do return to classes this fall.

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure deputies from the station are trained and prepared to immediately respond to any emergency on or around our school campuses in the Santa Clarita Valley, deputies are using school campuses during the summer months to conduct realistic rapid response and deployment training.

The purpose of the training is to develop life-like scenarios that will test and challenge the ability of the deputies to immediately respond to and confront any school-related emergency that threatens our youth.
The advanced training program was established several years ago following many high-profile incidents on school campuses throughout the nation.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sent deputies and training staff members to learn from those incidents in an effort to develop an advanced training program and be better prepared to protect our community and our youth in the unlikely event such training is needed. The training program has developed into one of the best in the nation.

In preparation for any such emergency, Santa Clarita-based deputies have developed school safety plans, frequently train on different campuses in the valley to gain familiarity with the layouts, and are now aided by technology, camera systems and special rapid response equipment.

What experts have learned is that time is of the essence when responding to any school related emergency. As a result, deputies are trained to quickly and efficiently respond, immediately deploy and secure the campus, neutralize any threats to students and the community and protect life.

By working with school officials, deputies develop an invaluable partnership that can be immediately put to use during any school related emergency.

The city of Santa Clarita and county of Los Angeles are already ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting our school campuses and our students in Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley. With the funding and placement of School Resource Deputies directly on our school campuses, there is a direct resource immediately available to students and school staff.

School Resource Deputies develop a rapport with many of the students and staff members. This direct partnership and development of trust, coupled with the fact the deputies are right there on campus, creates a unique avenue of communication, safety and understanding.

Many times throughout the school year these deputies receive information directly from students and staff members of potential problems developing. The deputies are able to take immediate action and prevent these potential problems from arising at all, or stop them from escalating.

The launch of the School Watch Program in March 2008 has also added extra eyes and ears in a buffer zone of protection around many of our schools.

"Our schools should be the safest place in our community," said Captain Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "Our school campuses and surrounding areas must be safe zones free of gangs, drugs, violence, crime and misuse. Our children deserve a truly safe learning environment without outside influences or interruptions."

Although deputies have been training for several consecutive weeks,, the next course is scheduled for Thursday, July 23, at Valencia High School.


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