Public Safety's efforts to prepare for active shooters
By Dorah Labatte and Shauna Golden
Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas that happened on Sunday night, people nationwide are looking toward safety precautions that can be made to prepare for such events in the future. Quinnipiac University is doing just that.
Quinnipiac University will require the incoming freshmen class, the Class of 2021, to participate in a mandatory active shooter training before coming to school. According to Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson, the training will be online.
“Basically, it’s a training video that, I can’t remember which police department it was….I think it was one in Dallas or Houston, I don’t remember exactly, but it’s a training video that’s used nationwide [...] It gives specific examples of, you know, situations and when each of those three would be appropriate and how to do that effectively," Thompson said.
In September 2014, the Public Safety department armed their retired sworn officers. The first active shooting training happened soon after when about 20 public safety officers were armed. The department is working to release the program “Alert Us.” The technology will allow public safety officers access to all screens on campus to warn students of any immediate danger that is on campus or in Hamden.
“It's sad that we even have to teach classes like this,” training officer, Bradley Bopp said.
Officer Bopp has worked for years as a Connecticut State Police Trooper, and is one of the armed officers on campus. He hosted open active shooter training for faculty, staff members and students throughout the school year.
“I teach run, hide and fight,” Bopp said.
The retired trooper said situational awareness is very important in active shooter situations.
“Run...where does that stairwell take me out to? You need to be cognizant of your surroundings.”
Thompson further explained the Run, Hide, Fight training, saying, " If something happens where you become aware of an active shooter, your choices are first, if you can safely, run. If not, attempt to hide somewhere. The third option, which is the least you know...where you confront someone physically and engage with them.”
Bopp urges everyone to be familiar with all areas on campus. It is easier to run when you know exactly where every door leads you to.
Quinnipiac University's campus is easily accessible, a feature that must be addressed in these types of situations.
“I think we just have to be aware that [these] things do happen and be as best prepared as possible. We have a very easily accessible campus, it’s not like we’ve got huge walls that people have to climb over or anything like that," Thompson said.
According to Officer Bop, because of this, “you need to think outside the box."
If you find yourself close to the shooter and don’t have much time to run, hide. If you are in a room, lock the door, turn the lights off and hide behind/under an object.
“I’d like to think the last thing to think is give up. I’d hope nobody gives up,” Bopp said.
Bopp suggested fighting is the last resort. If there are many people in a room, the shooter will not be able to take out every single person if everyone attacks at once.
Looking forward, incoming freshmen will participate in active shooter training presentation and answer questions in addition to the alcohol awareness and Haven program training.
Above all, being prepared is the most important element that Quinnipiac University is trying to convey to students.
“So, just a preparedness, making sure people understand it could happen. And if it does, this is what you should do," Thompson said.
***In the situation of an active shooter, please call 9-1-1 right away***