FAU police prepare for possible active shooter with Boca campus drill

The training involved more than 350 people.


The man in blue played the role of one of two active school shooters. He threw a fake flash grenade after exiting the vehicle then headed toward FAU High School. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Alexander Rodriguez, Features Editor

Loud gunshots and stun grenade explosions could be heard from the FAU High parking lot Saturday afternoon. Minutes later, police and first responders rushed to the scene and prepared for the worst.


All of this was part of an active shooter drill hosted by FAU police last weekend. The Boca campus drill consisted of about 250 role players, two “active shooters,” and 100 South Florida police officers, fire rescue, and hospital staff members.


The drill comes four months after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting that left 17 people dead.


“Our goal is to help train our officers and try to prevent any casualties,” FAU police Captain Larry Ervin said.


Those involved were given a brief introduction about the drill and how each of them would roleplay having different injuries. Several situations included someone losing a leg/hand, getting shot multiple times, or dying.

During a briefing in the Engineering East building, around 250 role players listened to police officers discuss their role during the drill. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez


The two “shooters” started the drill by throwing fake stun grenades in the parking lot and then making their way into the high school. They then began shooting blank rounds.


Police officers arrived at the scene in less than five minutes.

Four members of the Palm Beach County SWAT team prepare their gear before the active school shooter drill. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez


As for the fire rescue and hospital staff, they weren’t told what they could expect during the drill.


“We told them to show up at FAU and that’s the only information we provided,” Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said. “We don’t want them to go in with preconceived notions or ideas on how to approach the scenario.”    


Controlled fires were also included in the drill.


The Palm Beach County Fire Department set up a controlled car fire for the first responders responding to the active school shooter drill. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez


The exercise took place once over the course of Saturday morning and afternoon.


Alexander added that he wanted to focus on having better communication through police dispatch.


“We learn something new everytime we go through a scenario like this. It’s not enough to watch what’s happening but we have to do it and we have to teach it,” Alexander said. “Best ways for us to learn and we want to make mistakes here so we are not making it when seconds and lives count.”


Alexander Rodriguez is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @AARodriguezz93.