Police cancel shooter training at South High after noise complaints

Devin Kelly

Anchorage police have cancelled an active shooter training scheduled for next week at South High School after a training at the school Monday drew noise complaints from neighbors.

South High neighbors were warned Monday they might hear what sounded like gunfire later that night, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., while officers conducted an active shooter drill and fired blank rounds.

Christine Monette, president of the Huffman-O'Malley Community Council, said the council was not made aware of the exercise ahead of time. She said she spent Tuesday fielding numerous irate phone calls from neighbors, who told her it sounded like a "firecracker barrage."

"A lot of people thought there was some kind of altercation," she said.

The police department sent a noise alert to media outlets at 1:58 p.m. on Monday, and put it on Twitter and Facebook. Castro said the department also emailed and called the Turnagain View Estates Homeowners Association. Monette said she first heard about the drill from other council members at about 5:45 p.m. Monday, after the news reported it.

The training was supposed to repeat at South High next Monday, but Castro said Tuesday that the location is being moved. She did not say where the new location will be.

She said in an email that South High was not the first choice for the training. The training normally happens at the Port of Anchorage, but that and other usual locations were unavailable, Castro said.

Castro said she did not receive complaints or comments from the public before the training started. But as it commenced in an open lot at South Monday night, it became clear the location was not ideal, she said

"Officers were not made aware of all of the various activities that were taking place at the school last night with lots of cars coming and going for extracurricular activities," Castro said. "This did not end up being an ideal location for our training, in addition to having to create an inconvenience for nearby residents with the noise."

She said such trainings will not be taking place at South High in the future.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com or 257-4314.