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By Stephen Springer - Staff Reporter
More than 20 officers from Valley SWAT stormed and cleared an active shooter from a building on campus last weekend.
Thankfully, it was only a training drill.
VSWAT stands for Valley Special Weapons And Tactics. It is a team deployed during active shooter, hostage situations and terrorist attacks. The team is made up of officers from the cities of Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Tukwila and the Port of Seattle.
This is not the first time Highline Public Safety has partnered with VSWAT to train responding officers for active shooter situations on campus.
Last summer, VSWAT conducted a similar training event in Building 26.
Officers were reacting to a notional active shooter holed up in Building 26 and made entry and dealt with the situation. Building 26 was chosen because it is slated to undergo renovation and any damage during the drill was not supposed to affect any of the college's operations.
However, the Legislature failed to approve the capital budget and the renovation of Building 26 is on hold. The building bears some scars from the drill, but some classes are still held there.
The objective of these training situations is for VSWAT is to familiarize the responding officers to Highline's campus, its buildings and likely points where a threat is going to occur or make a stand.
"I'm very happy to see continuing partnership with VSWAT," said Sgt. George T. Curtis III, Public Safety officer. "It gives us confidence that Highline will be a safer campus and should a situation arise, the officers responding will be familiar and trained on how to deal with it in regards to the layout of campus."
The most recent training involved more than 20 officers, armored vehicles, simulated situations in the parking lot and in buildings.
"I expect to see more partnership and training with VSWAT very soon," said David Menke, director of Public Safety and Emergency Management.