Active shooters on college campuses

 What is UF’s security plan? Do students know how to respond? 

By Mac Williams

Mass shootings are in the news constantly in the United States and continue to contribute to conversations in congress about gun control. The FBI’s definition of a mass shooting is a shooting that kills or injures four or more people. According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine that collected data from 1966 to 2012, the United States makes up five percent of the world’s population yet had 31 percent of all public mass shootings during that period. Most of these shootings happen in places like schools or community events, making college campuses especially vulnerable. The University of Findlay is integrating an actual police force into campus security and the department has procedures in place to deal with precisely these situations, should it ever become a reality at UF.

According to William Spraw, chief of police and director of security at the University, there are steps that security will take to help deal with the situation. First, campus security will alert local authorities to the situation. Second, security will then direct law enforcement to the area where the incident is occurring.

“Our priority is to get law enforcement to the situation as soon as possible, because the quicker they get here the more lives are saved,” said Spraw.

According to Matthew Bruskotter, assistant dean for environmental, safety, security and emergency management, the current security force is not able to effectively deal with the situation on its own.

“Until we have our own police force here on campus our security’s job is to contact and direct local law enforcement to the situation,” said Bruskotter. “Once we complete the transition to a campus

police, we will be able to train those officers how to respond to an active shooter situation in addition to local law enforcement.”

According to Bruskotter, there are things that students can do in the event of an active shooter situation on campus. First, he explained that students should run if they have the opportunity to do so.

“It’s better to put as much distance between you and the shooter as possible,” said Bruskotter.

Second, if running is not an option, students should try to hide inside a room that locks from the inside, and students should turn off the lights in that room. Lastly, students should fight if they are confronted by the shooter.

“Students should find anything that can be used as a weapon and attack the shooter with it,” said Bruskotter. “It’s often hard for students to do this because we are taught not to put our hands on other people, but it is absolutely vital that people fight if they have to because it’s the only way that you will survive in that situation.”

According to Courtney Van Horn, a junior accounting student at UF, the thought of an active shooter on campus has crossed her mind.

“With everything that is going on in the world today it makes you realize that it can happen anywhere,” said Van Horn. “However, I feel safe when I come to campus because I know that our security has a plan in place to deal with those situations.”

According to Van Horn students should be given knowledge of what to do in the event of an active shooter situation.

“I think we as students should be told what to do when we come for orientation, that way everybody gets the same speech and nobody gets left out,” said Van Horn.

According to an FBI report released in September 2016, Americans are 38 percent more likely to be killed by lightning than an active shooter. The odds are extremely unlikely that UF will ever have to deal with this type of situation, but if it does students need to remember three things. Run, hide, and fight.

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