2017-02-17 / Editorials

Police showed good judgment in both incidents

EDITORIAL

It has been an extraordinarily busy seven days for the Simi Valley Police Department. Aside from the routine patrols, traffic stops and day-to-day operations, local officers this week handled at least two major incidents that called for large-scale responses.

Around 10 am. Feb. 10, a 35-year-old man reported to be suicidal and armed with a knife, barricaded himself in a white pickup truck in the driveway between two First Street auto dealerships. The dealerships were placed on lockdown while officers, including members of the SWAT team, as well as crisis negotiators and Ventura County Mental Health officials, worked carefully to resolve the situation.

The four-hour ordeal ended peacefully when authorities persuaded the man to surrender. Instead of being arrested, the man, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Then around 8:20 a.m. Feb. 15, a report of a female walking into Royal High School with a long gun prompted a campus-wide lockdown. Royal Avenue was shut down in front of the school. St. Rose of Lima Catholic School across the street enacted its own voluntary lockdown as a precaution.

Dozens of SVPD officers, again including members of the SWAT team, conducted an exhaustive search of the area. Air units from Los Angeles Police Department and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the search. Over the course of the four-hour lockdown, officers accounted for all 2,000 students and combed through every inch of the 52-acre campus.

Although the situation Wednesday ended up being a false alarm—the gun in question turned out to be a ceremonial rifle used by the school’s drill team—officers took painstaking steps to ensure the safety of Royal’s students and staff.

Some might argue that the large police response in both of these situations was overkill. But we think SVPD performed admirably in both instances and deserve gratitude for handling the situations with such care.

Had the Feb. 10 incident in Simi Valley turned violent, or had there been a real campus shooter Feb. 15, the outcomes this week could have been truly tragic. We’re lucky they didn’t.

Even on the best days, law enforcement is difficult and dangerous work.

In the current climate, in which cases of officer-involved violence and police controversies make near-daily headlines across the United States, all cops out there are facing more challenges than ever before. And good police work often goes unreported and unacknowledged.

That’s why it’s important to give credit where credit is due.

In both the Feb. 10 and Feb. 15 incidents, our local officers showed their professionalism, good judgment and solid commitment to public safety. And it’s comforting to know these are the men and women who serve and protect us on a daily basis in Simi Valley.

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