In Case of Emergency: University Police train for school shootings
On June 19th, CNN reported “that there have been 74 school shootings in the past 18 months.” That number represents the
number of shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults in December 2012.
This data was compiled by a group called Everytown for Gun Safety, which, according to its website (www.everytown.org) “is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”
Also according to Everytown for Gun Safety, “millions of guns change hands without background checks every year.”
Among several initiatives to decrease gun violence in the US, one of the biggest initiatives that the group is working on is closing
the loopholes that allow people to obtain guns without background checks.
Recent FGCU graduate and Forensic Studies major Taryn Schwerthoffer works as a 911 operator in Lee County. Schwerthoffer believes that all students should have the right to carry a concealed firearm with proper permit.
“I know that if a shooting were to happen, I would want to have my firearm,” said Schwerthoffer.
Of the 74 shootings in the past 18 months, 35 have been on college campuses, and more than ten people have died.
The first shooting on Everytown’s list of school shootings since Sandy Hook happened on January 8th, 2013, in Fort Myers, in the Apostolic Revival Center Christian School parking lot. There was one casualty, no children involved, though the children heard the gunshots from their classrooms.
FGCU has measures in place to prepare students for a shooting on-campus.
Chief Steven Moore of the University Police Department told Eagle News that the University officers train with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department on active shooter incidents. Real life scenarios are used in the trainings to give the officers the best possible preparation in the case of an actual tragedy occurring.
If there were a shooting on campus, FGCU’s emergency alert system would display necessary information to inform everybody of what to do next.
The alert system includes, but is not limited to, the access TV system on campus, text messaging and e-mails. Students can sign up for text alerts at fgcu.edu/Alert.
The first thing one should do in the case of an active shooter emergency, would be to call 911 and state that he or she is calling from FGCU. Secondly, get out of the dangerous situation if possible. If there is no clear evacuation route then one should try to hide somewhere covered by a door, or something similar that would offer protection from a bullet coming at him or her.
“The plan is dependent on so many different variables, you can’t say that there is one right thingto do in case of an emergency like a school shooting,” said Chief Moore.
Incoming graduate student Alyson Brumbaugh works as a Speech Therapist in Lee County. Brumbaugh said that after the Sandy Hook tragedy, her school required some training for teachers, but that the trainings have not been ongoing.
“Most schools here in Florida are open – when walking from one building to the next you are out in the open. It’s scary because I was traveling to each classroom at the risk of potentially being shot at. I just trusted that in the surrounding area nothing like that would happen and went on with my day,” Brumbaugh said.
While in her freshman year at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Brumbaugh experienced a lockdown due to a shooting in a parking lot on campus. Classes were cancelled until the situation was done being investigated.
“It was scary,” Brumbaugh said.
FGCU student Brooke Mcdowell said, “It is a tragedy that there have been so many shootings at schools, but the thing is, you don’t know where it’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, or who it’s going to happen to.”
Information about FGCU’s Active Shooter preparation and how to stay safe in the case of such an emergency, is available online at www.fgcu.edu/upd/activeshooter.html.
If interested in learning more and being prepared, FGCU groups and classes may request that UPD staff present a 1-hour video about how to act in an active shooter event by contacting Chief Moore at 239-590-1917.