Trinity’s Crisis Management Team is comprised of staff and faculty members who review university procedures and practices related to emergency situations. The organization meets monthly and undergoes training and exercises to prepare the campus for crises. This year the Crisis Management Team aims to bring more training to Trinity’s campus, according to Ivan Pendergast, the emergency management coordinator for the team.
“This year we’re really making an effort to bring those out to the community, so that students, faculty, and staff know what to do in a moment of crisis no matter what that crisis is. We try to provide a little bit of training as to what to do prior to that event. So we can look at that decide what went well, what went wrong, what do we need to fix,” Pendergast said.
The Crisis Management Team is made up of faculty and staff from many Trinity departments including David Tuttle, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, Steven Bachrach, assistant vice-president for special projects, Paul Chapa, chief and director of university police, and several others.
The first training session scheduled for the fall is a severe-weather drill for tornados in October.
“We are going to simulate a tornado hitting campus with a tornado warning. We are going to ask the Trinity community to seek shelter. We’re going to have observers all over campus to see how this works,” Pendergast said.
The purpose of the drills is to identify problems that need to be solved prior to an actual emergency, according to Pendergast.
“One of the biggest reasons we have these drills and these exercises is to identify those areas that work and what doesn’t work. We’d rather find out now with an exercise that something needs to be improved upon, than during a major event,” Pendergast said.
In the event of an active shooting on campus Pete Perez, assistant chief of police at Trinity University, explains that emergency preparedness is important.
“Heaven forbid that an active shooting does happen on campus. A lot of people don’t know what to do and we want our students to be more aware of what might happen. We’re promoting the Shots Fired on Campus video right now,” Perez said.
The Shots Fired on Campus video states that, “The possibility of being involved in an active shooter event on campus may be remote, but the consequences can be catastrophic. That’s why it makes good sense for you to spend some time thinking about what you would do if you found yourself in such a situation. It’s a sad fact that shooting events do happen on college campuses.”
In addition to the Shots Fired on Campus video, Perez explains that TUPD is promoting ELERTS, a safety app from TUPD. The app updates the user is reported of any unusual activity on campus and can also directly send photos to TUPD in the instance of any spotted crime or instances.
Perez explains that the ELERTS app also acts as a virtual escort for students walking from one point to another.
“ELERTS is a virtual escort. You get from point A to point B on campus and hold down the button on the app. When you release the button, you have ten seconds to let us know that you’re okay. If there’s no response, we’ll send an officer to your location on campus,” Perez said.
TUPD also has monthly mock trainings for officers for emergency related situations including active shooter protocol.
The Crisis Management Team works to practice through mock trainings and procedures before a crisis occurs. Pendergast explained that training is important to be prepared for tragedies that he hopes will never occur. “It’s like we’re preparing for the rainy days, but we hope for the sun,” Pendergast added.