In light of the horrendous gun violence occurring across the country, TUPD has been hosting sessions training students and faculty on what to do in the event that there is an active shooter on campus. This training is in preparation for a campus wide event that will imitate an active shooter on April 7.
Pete Perez, assistant chief of TUPD, described the changes that have been made in the way TUPD would handle such a situation and the impetus behind them.
“What changed everything with our police response was the Columbine shooting. The officer assigned there did everything he was supposed to do. He formed a barrier and waited for the local police department squad to arrive. But meanwhile, lives were being lost,” Perez said. “Since then, our police response has changed. Once we get that call, we’re trained and ready to go in there and handle it. We’re not going to wait for a SAPD squad team though they will of course be called. We’re going in, and we’re not going to waste any time about it. Our officers are trained in how to deal with an active shooter situation.”
Perez stressed the importance of training the Trinity community on how to handle themselves if there is ever a shooter on campus.
“There’s a big difference in the way people act depending on if they’re trained or untrained. The trained people will often try and take control of the situation; they take the lead, and they evaluate their options,” Perez said. “The untrained people are in a sort of panic mode, they can’t believe it’s happening, it’s surreal. They’ve never been in this type of situation before, and they’re too scared to act. Those that are trained, on the other hand, are determined to survive, and they know what they need to do to survive.”
Kara McLean, Trinity first year, agrees that training for this situation is extremely important.
“I definitely think training is a good idea. You never know what’s going to happen. Last semester, my hallmate got caught with ammo. He didn’t mean any harm, but that’s not true of everybody. We need to be prepared,” McLean said.
The sessions TUPD holds are meant to teach us how to think in this situation.
“Our main focus in our classes is the survival mindset. We can’t stress that enough, how important it is to develop a survival mindset. We get questions all the time about “˜What should I do if”¦’ And my response is, What are you going to do? I can’t give you an exact answer to your scenario. At that point, you’re gonna have to make a decision on what you’re going to do to survive. You have to have the survival mindset to be able look at your options and make a decision,” Perez said.
Noah Boriak, also a Trinity first year, showed support for the concept of the “survival mindset.”
“Every situation is going to be different, so we need to know how to reason out the best plan of action. I don’t think there’s really a one size fits all solution here, so being trained to handle it out sounds best,” Boriak said.
Perez continued to discuss the different options we may face in the event of a shooter on campus.
“Run, hide, fight. In an active shooter situation, in essence you have three options,” Perez said. “If you think it’s safe to run, then by all means run. Get away from the situation. But there are other times where running just isn’t an option. You could be in class and hear shots just outside the door. In that case, you can’t run. Instead, you hide. You lock the door. You try and get yourself out of harm’s way. The third option, of course, is to fight. You may get down to the point where you have to defend yourself. In the end, you have to look out for number one.”
Perez also stressed how important it is for us to call the police immediately and without hesitation in this event.
“Don’t think that someone else is going to call us. Too often, people in a situation will think, “˜Oh, somebody else will call the police, so I’m not going to.’ That kills time. Minutes, even seconds, count in these situations,” Perez said.
The next training Mar. 22 at 7p.m., and students are strongly encouraged to come. On April 7, there will be a school wide event to practice our response in the event of a shooter on campus.