Texas Southmost College hosted a large-scale active attack training in collaboration with multiple local, state and federal agencies.

TSC and law enforcement leadership began the morning with a joint press conference before commencing the hour-long training on campus using various buildings.

Between law enforcement and medical first responders a total of 15 agencies were represented and involved in the exercise.

“We know our college is benefiting from all the relationships and resources that our law enforcement brings into Texas Southmost College,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Adela Garza during the press conference. “Today will be a display of that with the multi-jurisdictional full-scale exercise that I hope we never have to do for real.”

Garza, who was first elected to TSC’s Board of Trustees in 2008, explained that the board has been involved with the planning, development and investment into the security model for the college because safety is something taken seriously at TSC.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz applauded Texas Southmost College’s initiative to host a training before waiting for guidance or before a situation arises.

“While our national and state political leaders continued to get mired in discussions, TSC has moved beyond that and TSC has acted by what you see here today,” Saenz said. “I want to commend TSC and all the folks here in the different colored uniforms whose purpose is the same, to provide a safe community for our children.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Captain Frank Lopez said the joint and collaborative nature of the full-scale training could inspire other institutions of higher learning to follow suit.

“This [training] can be the template for other colleges and universities around the nation,” said Lopez.  “[It will help them] prepare with all their partners so if this ever happens, we’ll be ready.”

The exercise served the purpose of training but also evaluation of communication between agencies.

Texas Southmost College President Dr. Jesus Roberto Rodriguez said the exercise allowed for best practices and areas for improvement to be identified.

“We had different players in this scenario; law enforcement from local to state to national agencies, actors who were role-playing victims and emergency medical services (EMS) role-playing,” Rodriguez said. “Beyond having the exercise, we need to capture the lessons learned. For that we had evaluators and observers to try to capture from their perspective ‘ Were they able to accomplish their goals in responding to an active attack?’”

Rodríguez explained the importance of preparation and stressed how you can never be too prepared for these types of emergency situations.  This event has been a yearlong process of planning meetings and discussion to bring together an understanding of how each agency would respond to Texas Southmost College in the event of a mass emergency situation.

“Our campus is dedicated to being proactive, not reactive when it comes to emergency preparedness,” said Dr. Rodríguez “Our main priority is our students and employees, and this training is proof that we will work together with law enforcement and medical professional partners to ensure the safety of our Scorpion family.”