University police hold active-shooter training session
Officers reviewed ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ protocol with students
University police discussed what to do when an active shooter is on campus during two active-shooter training sessions held last Wednesday and Friday.
UPD began conducting “walk-in” training sessions last year to teach students and faculty how to react in an emergency shooting event. The training, conducted by interim Chief of Police Chris Bartolomei and Officer Scott Marciszewski, went over “Run, Hide, Fight,” active-shooter protocol based on the Department of Homeland Security’s response model.
Although concern about school shootings and gun violence has dominated headlines in the past few weeks, it’s still hard to reach students, Bartolomei said. On Wednesday, roughly 20 students and faculty members attended, and on Friday, just three.
Bartolomei addressed the low turnout during Friday’s session.
“We’ve advertised it the best we can,” he said. “There have been recent events that have been piquing people’s interests, but we still don’t get a good turnout.”
The session stressed the importance of being aware of surroundings on campus and signing up for UB alerts via cell phone. The goal of the training is “not to scare”, but to prepare students and faculty, Marciszewski said.
Bartolomei defined an “active-shooter” as someone who is “intent on killing as much as possible, and is actively engaged in doing so.” Officers said shooters are usually not strangers, but members of the community.
The officers played a video that showed how to react during a shooting. The video said the first priority is to run away from the danger. If that is not possible, the next step is to hide in a secure location and to turn off lights and cell phone ringers to not alert the shooter. The last resort is to engage the shooter in combat to stall or disarm them.
“I don’t advocate fighting with an armed or hostile person, but that may be your only option,” Marciszewski said.
Audience members asked if UPD will set up a campus-wide drill. Bartolomei responded saying it is difficult to conduct a functional drill for a university of UB’s size. Bartolomei added that during a shooting, it isn’t beneficial for everyone to react the same way. A drill would not necessarily help prepare for the scenario.
“It’s kind of an every-man-for-themself response [to a shooting], which typically sounds bad, but in this situation it actually works and the best part about it is that it’s not predictable for the shooter either,” Bartolomei said.
The officers told students to report anyone making threats on social media or acting strangely.
Bartolomei said he has seen crime decrease on campus, but fear of crime has gone up because of national news coverage of tragedies.
“I don’t want you to live in fear because really I think this campus is safer than it ever has been in the time I’ve worked here,” Bartolomei said.