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Campus police guides students on safety

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The results of a mass shooting at PNW would not be as fatal as the one in Sutherland, Texas because of extensive police preparation and training, campus police said.

Campus police cannot prevent disasters from happening at the university, but Brian Miller, director of public safety, said they can try to prevent some injuries or killings at PNW.

“Our police patrols provide police protections in the local neighborhoods, and we have conducted community meetings to alert and instruct our neighbors about the crime prevention techniques we use on campus,” Miller said.

Patricia Nowak, chief of police, said that campus police officers are continuously trained to handle mass shootings. The officers train for several scenarios.

“The good thing about police is that there are so many hours of required training,” Nowak said. “Our officers are trained in an active shooter drill and complete tabletop exercises. We train for accuracy.”

Miller said that officers are trained in how to engage with dangerous subjects in a large crowd and campus police officers are provided advanced firearms training. There are seven campus police officers, including Miller, who were SWAT trained before coming to PNW.

There are 11 agencies that would assist PNW if there was an active shooter on campus or any other emergency, with one of the agencies being the Hammond Police Department. All of the agencies are also trained on campuses with campus police officers to know all the buildings on both campuses. The last active shooter training was last summer and they are trained through ALICE, which is an active shooter response training.

“The goal is redundancy. We do it over and over again,” Miller said. “Understand that having competent and highly trained individuals is our number one priority.”

Miller and Nowak said that in a case of any emergency, students, faculty and staff would be notified through Rave Alert Me. Rave would also notify local authorities in less than three minutes. If people are signed up for the emergency text messaging service, they will receive information about an emergency through a text. Emergency alerts will also be sent out through the web screen capture, strobe and audible alarms and ENS, a public address system. All emergency alerts will update every 15 minutes and notify students, faculty and staff of the status of the emergency.

“It doesn’t take an event to prepare for a disaster,” Nowak said. “We are proactive and not reactive.”

If there was an active shooter on campus, the university would follow the guidelines from ALICE. First the university would alert the authorities of the emergency. Next the university would be on lockdown. The campus police would inform the students, faculty and staff of what actions to take. Lastly, campus police would evacuate the university.

Nowak believes that it is important for students, faculty and staff to always be aware of their surroundings, because one never knows when an emergency will take place.

“If you can get a chance to run, depending where you are you should run. If not, the most important thing is to always be aware. Be aware of what’s going on,” Nowak said. “Always look as to where the closest escape would be, look what can be used to block off the door if you are hiding in a room or look what can be used as a weapon. All of this should be something that is in our minds.”

Miller and Nowak suggests to students, faculty and staff to participate in defense classes such as R.A.D., which is rape aggression defense classes for women; join the ALICE training to learn what to do if there is an active shooter on campus; or participate in S.A.F.E, which is a self-defense and familiarization exchange. All of these defense classes are free.

“In the past, campuses’ emergency preparedness was hoping that it wasn’t going to happen to them. Hope is not a plan,” Miller said. “Plan it as if it could happen.”

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