Training readies UPD for campus shootings

Spinnaker

April 16 will mark the two-year anniversary of the deadliest school shooting in the United States: the massacre of more than 30 people at Virginia Tech.

The UNF population has not suffered a shooting in all its 37 years, but UPD said it is still prepared for an active shooter.

UPD participates in training for managing campus shooters twice a year with a SWAT commander from the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, in addition to an advanced training session it completed in 2007.

If a situation were to come up involving a school shooting, UPD would format an immediate plan, said UPD Chief John Dean. The specific details cannot be released due to officer safety issues.

“The primary objective is to immediately isolate the active shooter,” Dean said.

Next, UPD would set a perimeter and command center to evacuate the university. It can also contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for additional manpower, if necessary, Dean said.

As for preparing administrative staff and students, a lecture PowerPoint and video called “Shots Fired” gives information on preparation for an active shooter. The next presentation is scheduled at 9 a.m. March 18 in Building 50, room 1202.

The Crisis Management Team members also participate in training to help identify people with emotional problems.

The team consists of key individuals who respond to various crisis emergencies and communicate effectively back to campus. It meets every two weeks and also plans to start testing the active shooter plan in the case of a school shooting.

UNF is pretty well prepared for an active shooter, said Crisis Management Team member Richard Crosby, associate vice president of Administration and Finance.

He said UNF is being proactive by having an outside public address system installed, which anyone on campus would be able to hear.

Other forms of communication in an emergency event include the building fire alarm system; the Code Red Campus Alert System, through which the university has the ability to deliver a voicemail to students, faculty and staff; and the Crisis Management Team, which sends e-mails to students, faculty and staff.

Information is also updated on UNF’s main phone number, 620-1000, so callers can listen to of the latest information.

A new feature, already installed in Buildings 51 and 60, allows UPD to lock buildings instantly with the push of button.

It prevents people from going in the building but still lets people exit. It is installed on the exterior doors of the buildings and controlled by the communications center in the UPD office.

Still, sophomore nutrition major Jordan Farrell said he believes UNF is not prepared for an active shooter.

“The no-gun policy lets a shooter know that students don’t have a way of protecting themselves,” Farrell said. “Everyone thinks UNF is a safe place, but it isn’t when someone brings a gun on campus.”

By Florida state statue, a student cannot carry a gun without permission of UPD.

E-mail Michelle Carranza at [email protected]