UMPD offers active shooter training

By Lia Gips

(Jessica Piccard/ Daily Collegian)
(Jessica Piccard/ Daily Collegian)

A new batch of students were given active shooter training by University of Massachusetts police officer Brian Kellogg Monday night in the Integrative Learning Center. Kellogg has been giving these trainings to a mix of UMass employees and students for the last eight years.

“There’s a thin line between educating and scaring students, and I think that’s what administration is wrestling with,” Kellogg said.

This training was arranged by the journalism department, but like most of Kellogg’s trainings, it was open to the general UMass community. Kellogg said that there has been an uptick in interest in his presentations since the armed assault in Pierpont Hall last February, and that administration has been rethinking many safety policies since the incident.

One upcoming change that UMass will see is that campus alerts will now give more specific directions through text and email. Many students last semester were at a loss for how to react to the advice that they should “shelter in place.”

Some students in attendance were surprised that more had not attended, while others came because they could receive extra credit.

“This is really necessary to learn,” said Maria Manning, a sophomore journalism major. “You never know what situation you might be in.”

Kellogg believes that an active shooter is the most dangerous situation a student can be in, and emphasizes on the importance of making sure people know what kind of safety measures can be taken.

“It shouldn’t have been optional,” said Sabrina Negron, also a sophomore journalism student. “[Resident assistants] should know this.”

Kellogg estimates that he does 60 of these trainings each year, usually to groups of 30 students, with Monday’s session being roughly that size. His lesson uses video and lecture to emphasize on four main points: a survival mindset, how to get out of any situation that they might be in, how to have safe interactions with law enforcement and signing up for campus alerts.

“Safe interaction with law enforcement” means that in many situations, students need to be aware that police could potentially see them as a threat. Kellogg’s instruction emphasize they should behave as calmly as possible and not expect help from law enforcement beyond securing the active shooter.

The training also emphasized student initiative. “Most people have a fight, flight or freeze response to shooters,” Kellogg said. Using the example of Kent State, he said that classrooms led by teachers who took any kind of action were able to save more students than those who simply froze.

Kellogg’s recommended response to hearing gunshots is to “get out” of the building if one fears the shooter is in the same building, to “hide out” at a distance and to either “take out” and/or “call out,” meaning to immobilize the shooter as a group with a plan and to contact police enforcement.

According to Kellogg, 69 percent of active shooter incidents are ended by law enforcement within five minutes of reporting, while 48 percent are ended within two minutes.

Kellogg recommended that if students have concerns regarding a friend, classmate or hallmate who might become violent as a result of stress, that person can be taken to the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health on campus. Kellogg also suggested contacting UMPD to request a “wellness check” by a plainclothes police detective.

UMass students should call UMPD at (413) 545-3111 in case of an emergent gun scare.

Lia Gips can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @liagips.