Lisette Garcia, 41, and her younger brother, Jesse Cardenas, 31, have taken a path to increase the safety in their hometown of Los Angeles, Calif. Garcia, a police officer assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and Cardenas, a patrol officer on the city's Southside, believe in preparedness and have committed themselves by learning as much as possible in an effort to respond safely and effectively in any disastrous or emergency event.
The sister and brother duo recently left their West Coast palms for Northeast Alabama pines. No stranger to the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), the siblings are on their third training visit to the CDP, training here since 2011. According to Garcia, CDP training is realistic and up to date. She says, "You just don't get that in other places.
"The hands-on training at the CDP is great," she added. "This training doesn't just make me a more effective police officer, but I feel comfortable responding to any event and working with other disciplines like fire fighters and EMS. I can recognize dangerous materials and that makes me more of an asset. Before the CDP, I did not have the skills I bring to work now."
Cardenas, a police officer for the past 10 years, is following his sister's 18-year career. His sister's love for law enforcement influenced his decision to join the department. He said Los Angeles is a target for terrorism and natural disasters and joining his sister for training keeps them both safe and prepared to respond properly.
"The CDP courses have trained me better to respond to a mass casualty event," said Jesse. "Downtown LA is a terrorist target and this training prepares me to respond. If I did not have this training, I might make mistakes and put myself in danger. After the CDP, I can put my mask on with confidence and know I am protected."
Garcia said she is concerned for her brother, as he for her on the job. But the more prepared they are, the better they feel. They both agree their jobs are exciting and are proud of their careers in law enforcement and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). They both plan to urge coworkers to attend CDP training and ensure their respective leadership is aware of all the opportunities.
"LAX is the number one terrorist target on the West Coast," said Garcia. "That's another reason why I train. It is only a matter of time."