ACUPD conducted active shooter training over the summer through the ALERRT national program.
ALERRT, Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, teaches law enforcement, fire and medical to be on the same page and understand their roles in an emergency. Texas State University developed the program in 2002 in partnership with the San Marcos Texas Police Department and the Hays County Texas Sheriff’s Department. In 2013, the FBI named the ALERRT center the official national standard for all active shooter training for US law enforcement agencies.
Police Chief, Jimmy Ellison said ACUPD participates in the training four-six times every year, allowing every party to conduct their roles timely and effectively.
“Everyone knows what their role is, and everyone’s role is essential,” Ellison said. “We go through this with multi-agency training scenarios, and we want to make sure we’re getting things done in a timely manner.”
Randy Motz, training coordinator for active shooter preparedness and training, focuses on a four-pronged model: building approach, formation, building entry and building search. The department trains during holidays to avoid distracting classes.
Though the training is for law enforcement, Ellison said they teach civilians a three-step approach to remaining safe when an active shooter situation occurs.
The national model proposes to “avoid, deny and defend.” ACUPD teaches a parallel, simplified approach called “Run, Hide, Fight.”
“What we train civilians for is that you have to make critical decisions in the moment. You have to be able to assess what is going on. If you can get out of the building, we want you to get out of the building.”
First, the model teaches to run or avoid. Ellison said it is important to get away from danger and find safety. When you call the police, report what you see, what you hear and when you get to safety.
Second, hide or deny. If the option to run is not available, hide, lock the doors and barricade with nearby items such as chairs and desks.
ACUPD is testing a pilot program in the College of Business Administration, installing devices made to barricade doors. There are two different devices, one is a steel sleeve that slides over hydraulic arms to prevent opening and the other is a pre-drilled hole in the floor that a pin can be dropped into.
“We’ve been pleased with the overall results and hope to get other buildings on campus to buy-in this year, providing safer environments for students and faculty should we ever be faced with the tragedy of an active shooter on campus,” Ellison said.
The last option is to fight or defend. Ellison said any item that will distract the shooter can be used including fire extinguishers, books, chairs or other classroom items.
“Plan an attack, someone tackling the gunman high, someone tackling low. If the gunman is having to fight, or is heavily distracted, he’s not actively killing people.
“Those are individual decisions that people have to make, we don’t encourage people to do one or the other,” Ellison said. “You have to be thinking about using anything you can.”
Ellison said the department is eager to teach all campus groups about ALERRT, but needs 30-45 minutes to do so adequately.
“We will take every opportunity we can to get this subject matter in front of people because it is essential.”
Though they don’t have a date set for the next active shooter training, Ellison said it will be this semester.