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WSP, DES to hold two-day Capitol Campus active threat exercise June 3 and 4

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On Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and Department of Enterprise Services DES) will conduct a joint, two-day active threat readiness exercise on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

During the drill, WSP and DES will be joined by first response agencies in Olympia, throughout Thurston County and from around region. Most of the preparedness activities will occur on Saturday, June 4.

While there are no known specific threats to the campus, the training is designed to enhance preparedness, improve coordination and develop consistent response efforts among state, local and federal response agencies should an active threat occur.

The training is important since more than 6,000 state employees work on the campus daily. In addition, an estimated 500,000 people visit, tour and use the capitol grounds every year including:

  • Citizens meeting and working with their state legislators and other elected officials.
  • About 25,000 school children and adults touring the capitol building.
  • Residents participating in more than 600 free speech activities, rallies and other events.
  • Community activities such as weddings, concerts, marathons and Capital Lakefair.

WSP Johnny Alexander, who oversees law enforcement activities on the campus, said: "The Capitol Campus belongs to all Washington state citizens. We have a duty to be as prepared as possible to respond quickly and effectively should an active threat occur that puts people in harm's way. This exercise is about being ready to save lives if the worst were to happen."

During the two-day preparedness drill, state employees, residents and visitors will notice an increase in law enforcement and fire personnel on the campus. On June 3, several groups of first responders will conduct walk-through tours of several buildings on the campus.

Then on Saturday, June 4, about 200 first responders – law enforcement officers, firefighters and medical units – will be on campus. They will be using multiple campus buildings including the Cherberg, Legislative, O'Brien and Temple of Justice buildings. In addition, first responders also will bring about 50 support vehicles to support the exercise.

The training will start at about 6 a.m. and end around midnight. Some roadways and parking lots on the west campus will be closed for staging people, equipment and vehicles. There will be signage as well as State Troopers personnel near the entrances to the four buildings reminding people to stay clear of the active exercise areas.

On Saturday, the Legislative Building will be open regular public hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but be closed in the early morning and later in the afternoon for indoor training exercises.

DES is responsible for care and custody of the campus and contracts with the WSP for law enforcement and security services. Besides WSP and DES, other participating first response agencies include:

  • Olympia and Lacey police departments
  • Olympia Fire Department
  • Thurston County Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team
  • Pierce County Metro SWAT Team
  • Lewis County SWAT Team
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation SWAT Team
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