Many people have been left heartbroken and scared for their safety after the terror attack in Las Vegas, and it is important to remember the steps that need to be taken in times of terror. On campus, there are procedures set in place should a similar emergency occur.
“Our critical incident response team just recently updated our emergency operating plan and conducted several tabletop exercises,” Chief Frank Fernandez of Capital’s Police Department said. “One of [the exercises] was an active shooter on campus.”
Additionally, new employees must go through orientation, where faculty and staff are trained regarding safety and active shooters. In this training, staff are briefed on topics like basic public safety, office safety, suspicious activity and late-night safety.
The presentation given to staff says to keep emergency phone numbers easily accessible and to remember to lock your doors, even if you’ll only be gone for a few minutes.
“Lock and secure all of your personal and professional items,” one of the slides in the new employee training presentation said. “Be alert and aware of your surroundings and people in your area. Report any suspicious activity immediately. Responsibility; campus safety is the responsibility of the entire campus community.”
There are also resources, like the Rave Guardian App, that were created for students to help ensure their personal safety when they feel threatened, along with text alerts from Capital to help students stay updated on campus safety.
In light of recent events, the Chimes felt it would be important to include the profile of a possible shooter. This profile has four phases: the Fantasy, Planning, Preparation, and Approach Phases.
During the Fantasy Phase, a shooter pictures oneself doing the shooting, the headlines that will be written about them, news coverage, and will often discuss their desires to any and everyone.
The Planning Phase is when suspects decide on the finer details, like “who, what, when, where, why, and how.” They will write down their plans, discuss them, determine weapons, victims, and location.
Suspects will obtain weapons and possible explosives during the Preparation Phase. They might have to steal supplies and pre-position weapons. It is in this time they will likely call friends and tell them to not come to school or work on the day of the attack.
The final phase, the Approach Phase, is when suspects have made plans and intend to act, moving toward the intended target. Anyone making contact with the suspect during this time is in immediate danger.
“Unfortunately, we cannot predict the origin of the next threat, and assailants in some recent incidents across the country were not students or employees,” Fernandez said. “During the latest incident, there were no obvious specific targets, and the victims were unaware they were targets until attacked. It is important to be prepared for these attacks and develop a plan.”
Steps to take in instances of any public threat are to be aware of your environment and the possible dangers in it, and find your two closest exits from where you are. Run and flee the area; if you are in a hallway, find a classroom and secure the door, contact the police or public safety when it is safe to do so, and as a last resort, try to take down the shooter. This is most effective when the shooter is at close range and you are unable to flee.
In the last two years, Capital University Police Department has conducted training sessions with faculty about multiple topics like bomb threats and active shooter responses, Title IX, new staff orientation, narcotics training, and lockdown enhancement.
Remember to report suspicious activity to public safety, at (614) 236-6666. Suspicious behavior can be recognized by friends, faculty, staff, or family members. It is stressed by Chief Fernandez to “just get the facts”; you don’t have to try to solve a case. The police will do their job, and it is your job to remember information like descriptions of suspects.