Throughout 2019, there has been an accelerated number of mass shootings across the United States. Most recently, the shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and a club in Dayton, Ohio, had many casualties caused by active shooters.
Although Cal Poly Pomona claims to put students’ safety first, the fear of an active shooter is prevalent.
“I have always felt safe on campus,” said Tori Morton, fourth-year environmental biology student. “I’ve never felt threatened on campus, but you can never know what will happen. It has really scared me knowing that it could happen anywhere. It makes me feel super vulnerable. Even coming to school or going to the grocery store, it makes you feel scared.”
University Police has informed The Poly Post that an active shooter response plan is in place in case of such an emergency.
“It’s very important to have plans in place for a wide range of contingencies however unlikely they might be,” University Police Chief Dario Robinson said. “The University Police Department takes all threats against the campus community seriously. Our officers have been trained and continue to be trained in the prevention and response to situations that may arise.”
As part of their training, University Police officers frequently undergo active shooter drills to better prepare. The last training drill took place on May 30 and they have been a part of the law enforcement protocol for two decades.
“I have been chief for 3 ½ years, so I cannot speak specifically to what has previously taken place over the years, but the law enforcement community began active shooter training drills shortly after the Columbine mass shootings in April 1999,” Robinson said. “The training has continued to evolve in response to emerging threats and recent attacks.”
Part of the active shooter response plan is to send out an alert via CPP’s Safety Alert System (SAS).
The system will inform both the on- and off-campus community by sending alerts through email, text and social media platforms.
“The SAS also sends desktop alerts to campus-owned computers through Alertus desktop notifications,” Robinson said. “The SAS will be used only for emergency communication purposes and never for routine communications. It is important that students make sure their contact information is current in the BroncoDirect database.”
Jose Arce, third-year architecture student, is concerned about what course of action to take during the waiting period after police have been notified of an emergency.
“What do you do while the police are on their way? Do we leave the studio? I don’t know,” Arce said.
To inform students and staff about important tips that may be vital to an active shooter incident, University Police has simplified protocol into three simple tactics: Run. Hide. Fight.
“The best option is to get out of harm’s way by creating as much distance as possible from a shooter,” Robinson said. “If there is no avenue of escape, hiding is a second option. Lastly, fight if you cannot get away or safely hide.”
Students can watch the “Run. Hide. Fight.” video on CPP’s website at http://polycentric.cpp.edu/2018/03/video-what-to-do-in-an-emergency-or-active-shooter-situation/.
University Police can offer further aid to students, faculty and staff who want to be better prepared for such events. Robinson teaches active shooter training classes that include interactive presentations where the lessons focus on mental preparedness, warning signs and responses.
To sign up for the active shooter training, contact Robinson’s assistant, Lisa Morgan, at 909-869-3068 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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