Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo. – this list usually stirs up memories of some of the darkest times in American history. Knowing exactly how to react and prepare for an attack on a school or any public establishment is vital.
Eastern Michigan University and EMU’s Department of Public Safety is gearing up to offer sessions for students, faculty and staff on specific knowledge about training for these dire situations.
DPS Officer Candace Dorsey said that an active shooter training session will show the campus populace what to do in an event if someone were to come on campus with a weapon in a possible intent to harm or disrupt others.
“It could be in a classroom setting, it could be in a mall, whatever,” Dorsey said. “But because the university and college schools now seem to be a little bit more prevalent with people walking in to public buildings with weapons, we decided that it was time to adopt a more viable program.”
Dorsey said she has been showing an active shooter DVD as a training tool for the last six or seven years. She asked a few years ago to garner for the campus a program named A.L.i.C.E., which is an acronym for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate, but EMU had a different administration then who didn’t see that the program was practical at the time. Now, the current administration has deemed it necessary for such a program and A.L.i.C.E. will be in full effect shortly.
Dorsey said that with A.L.i.C.E., the DPS and university will be able to provide more hands-on training for the campus body. With the A.L.i.C.E. training, Dorsey said that the program gives the students options in the event of a situation involving a person or persons with a weapon.
Dorsey said the sessions will go through what it means by being alert or on lockdown.
“A long time ago, lockdown meant for everybody to lock in place,” she said. “From Columbine to Virginia Tech, we’ve learned some lessons in active shooter types of situations.”
Dorsey said because of many different lockdowns, like at VT, more deaths occurred because many were locked in the buildings, unable to escape.
“We need to change the way we’re training our students and staff to handle these types of situations,” she said. “We’re now telling people to get out of the building if you can versus a lockdown, and find a safe place.”
Dorsey said that there are also countermeasures coming into the training.
“We’ll be training teachers and staff how to fight back if you can’t get out of the building,” she said. “How to fight back if that’s the only option that you have. If (the shooter) is standing outside the door of your classroom, what do you do?”
Dorsey said that lots of schools in the Washtenaw County system have adopted the A.L.i.C.E. program. EMU has had people from Dexter schools, DPS from Detroit and other Washtenaw schools come in to discuss the program. The program itself will be implemented in the near future, but there isn’t a set date.
“We’re looking forward to presenting the program and hopefully that it’s something that people will participate in,” Dorsey said.
She said that people need to be educated on these situations.
“It’s an anywhere, everywhere problem,” she said. “You just never know.”
EMU student Lauren Avers, majoring in psychology and social work, said that it’s interesting with all of the shootings that have taken place, schools are finally promoting something like A.Li.C.E.
Avers said that she doesn’t know yet if she would attend the sessions.
“It is one of those pro-active measures to know what to do in those kinds of situations, but I guess I have that wrong mindset thinking it’s not going to happen to me, but you don’t actually know,” she said, “Maybe, I might go.”.
Student Body President Desmond Miller said that he is completely supportive of the program.
“More and more recently there have been campus shootings and I think it’s great EMU is doing the responsible thing and educating our students on the safe, proper procedures we should take if this were to happen here,” he said. “I would encourage every student to take advantage of the session so they are aware of what to do.”
Student body vice president, Nino Monea, agreed.
“It’s always great to see DPS taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of students and campus community members,” Monea said. “Preparing students for emergencies will help prevent future tragedies from occurring. Safety is a top priority at EMU, and this program represents a perfect example of this.”
For more information about A.L.i.C.E. and what the organization is all about, please visit the website at responseoptions.com/AboutResponseOptions.html or contact EMU’s DPS at (734)487-1222, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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