Shooter, Criminal or Hostage Situation

shooterThe Department of Public Safety is located in the West Parking Facility and provides 24-hour, seven-day help and protection.

Everyone is asked to assist in making the campus a safe place by being alert to suspicious situations and promptly reporting them.

If you are a victim or a witness to any on-campus offense, avoid risks, but try to be observant to detail for later reporting.

If you observe criminal behavior, suspicious persons or activities on campus, promptly report this information to the Public Safety Department at ext. 6400 or 6355.

Assist the officers when they arrive by supplying them with all additional information and ask others to cooperate.

An active shooter is a person who appears to be engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area; in most cases active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims.

The way a person responds to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. Keep mind there could be more than one shooter involved in the same situation. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, remain calm and use these guidelines to help you plan a strategy for survival.

If an active shooter is outside your building

  • Turn off all lights and close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Close all window blinds and curtains.
  • If you can do so safely, get all individuals on the floor and out of the line of fire.
  • Move to a core area of the building if safe to do so and remain there until an “all clear” instruction is given by an authorized known voice.
  • Do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer. Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe space

If an active shooter is in the same building you are

  • Secure the room you are in by the door lock, a wedge or barricade. Then follow the procedure described above.
  • If you cannot secure the room, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured or determine if you can safely exit the building. If you decide to move from your current location, follow the instructions outlined below.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom

  • Put as much distance as possible between you and the shooter
  • Remain calm.
  • Call 911 if possible, and alert police to the shooter’s location;
  • If you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what is taking place.
  • If there is absolutely no opportunity of escape or hiding, it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter.
  • Attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a last resort; only after all other options have been exhausted.
  • If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place. Do not touch anything that was in the area of the shooter because of possible explosives being left and crucial evidence being lost.

No matter what the circumstances

  • If you decide to flee during an active shooter situation, make sure you have a plan and escape route in mind.
  • Do not attempt to carry anything in your hands while fleeing; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow instructions given by any police officers you may encounter.
  • Do not try to move any injured people; leave them where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.
  • Do not attempt to leave campus until told it is safe to do so by police.

What to Expect from Responding Police Officers

  • Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area where the shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
  • Do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them.
  • Put down any bags or packages you are carrying and keep your hands visible at all times;
  • If you know where the shooter is, tell the officers.
  • The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured victims; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first team into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.
  • Keep in mind that once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is under control and witnesses have been identified.
  • Until you have been released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.

In the unlikely situation you are taken hostage, follow these guidelines:

  • Be patient; time is on your side. Avoid drastic action.
  • The initial 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions, be alert and stay alive. The captor is often emotionally unstable. Don’t make mistakes that could jeopardize your well-being.
  • Don’t speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary. Don’t talk down to the captor, who may be agitated. Avoid appearing hostile. Maintain eye contact with the captor at all times possible, but do not stare. Treat the captor like royalty.
  • Try to rest and avoid speculation. Comply with instructions as best you can and avoid arguments. Expect the unexpected.
  • Be observant. You may be released or have an opportunity to escape. The personal safety of others may depend on your memory.
  • Be patient. Attempt to establish rapport with the captor.
  • If medications, first aid or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, say so.  The captors in all probability do not want to harm persons held by them.  Such direct action further implicates them in additional offenses.