12/13/2013 03:04 am ET Updated Feb 12, 2014

LAPD's Active Shooter Drill At School Teaches That 'Seconds Count'

With the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy looming, the LAPD trained local educators Thursday on how to respond to an active shooter on campus.

During the daylong "Seconds Count" drill at New Community Jewish High in West Hills, about 50 private-school principals and leaders from Los Angeles' Jewish community learned methods for anticipating and preventing a crisis and training their staffs to respond should one occur. The "Seconds Count" exercise included a simulated classroom lockdown, part of the hide-run-fight strategy the LAPD recommends.

Cmdr. Jon Peters of the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Bureau noted that the LAPD's response time for a crime in progress averages about seven minutes -- critical moments when dealing with an armed assailant.

"When you are in a crisis situation, seven minutes is an eternity," Peters told the group. "When people are in a crisis, they revert to their training. That's why we're talking about, 'What would you do if ..."

Sgt. Cathy Riggs, who oversees the training unit at the LAPD's Topanga Division, said the "Seconds Count" program evolved from the community's horror over the shooting deaths last Dec. 14 of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

"I'm doing this for my 6-year-old daughter," said Riggs, a 19-year veteran of the LAPD. "As I heard the news of the shooting, I was outraged at what happened, and I wasn't the only one who felt like that."

Riggs said she worked with a group of 100 educators, parents, and community and civic leaders in devising a plan that can be adapted for individual schools. Their plan incorporates material from agencies like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and groups including the Secure Community Network, a New York-based nonprofit that serves the Jewish community nationwide. ___