Active shooter training prepares students, police


With the recent tragic events in schools across the nation, The Slate is taking a look at the emergency preparedness of Shippensburg University.

Seeing events like the Parkland school shooting on the news has students everywhere thinking about the “What if...” situations. “What if something like that were to happen here? What would I do? How would our campus react?”

SU student Gunnar Miller said he is confident in the SU police department. 

“Generally speaking, I do feel pretty safe on campus and I’m sure the police could handle anything that comes up,” Miller said.

Fellow SU student Steph Barnett has concerns about the availability of information during an emergency. 

“I feel like if there were any actual emergencies on campus, I would probably be the last to know and would end up walking straight into it. I would not feel prepared,” Barnett said.

While she does not feel completely prepared right now, Barnett offered some ideas on how to become more prepared. 

“We could go online to a map of campus and see which emergency routes to take, depending on where we’re located and a description of when to stay put and when to move quickly would probably help.”

The SU police department is constantly working to be as prepared as possible for any emergency situation. While students were away from campus on spring break, the SU police department held active shooter training in McLean Hall. 

“The police officers participate in ongoing training designed to prepare them for an effective active shooter response. They participate in joint training with local police, fire and EMS,” SU Police Chief Cytha Grissom said. “They also must complete mandatory update training in many topics annually. There are drills conducted on and off campus as well as tabletop exercises.”

The university is prepared to inform the student body during a time of emergency, according to Grissom. 

“The university has several methods of notifying the campus community during a crisis situation, including: emergency text messaging system, emails, changes to the website to reflect information, outdoor and indoor public address systems, emergency broadcast system on campus radio and TV stations, computer screen pop up system, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter,” Grissom said.

However, campus safety is not only the job of the police. Students can play a major role in preventing these types of situations, according to Grissom. 

“If they see something, say something. Anything out of the ordinary such as social media posts, statements made or suspicious/concerning behavior should be reported to the police department immediately,” Grissom said. “We cannot respond or investigate situations unless we are aware they are occurring.  Students must play an active role in keeping themselves safe.”

The SU police department offers active shooter training to campus residents via the residence life staff, as well as training to commuters at the beginning of the semester. There is also a video on the SU police website that encourages students to follow the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategies to survive an active shooter event. 

If you want more education on what to do in an active shooter situation, contact SU Crime Prevention Specialist Julie Clark, or ask a police officer on campus. For more information, visit

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