While campus shootings are unpredictable, students and staff should know where to go and what to do the second they hear a pulled trigger. For the protection of the campus, Campus Safety provided an active shooter training to prepare everyone for such this unlikely, yet extremely dangerous event.
Intending to be more informative than active, all students and staff were required to watch and discuss two videos regarding the protocol to take when there’s an active shooter on campus on Wednesday. May 10 at 11 a.m. and Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. The first video was provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security while the latter was produced by PCC students and staff in 2013.
PCC’s spokesperson Alex Boekelheide explained that the primary goal of the drill was to test the campus’ emergency communication systems, including student and staff emails, Rave text message alerts, and the school’s public announcement system. However, the drill was also meant to raise awareness of the recommended procedures to take in the event of an actual incident.
“The video material and other information circulated to campus were designed to ensure everyone on campus had access to proven methods of deferring,” Boekelheide wrote in an email to staff. “And if necessary, confronting an armed attacker.”
The video by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided the protocols to take when one hears or sees a gunman shooting.
The active shooter training video created by PCC students and staff is a six minute skit where a cop flashes back to when a shooting occurred during her time as a student at PCC. These flashbacks reenact the protocols presented by the former video, intended for students to note which action to take depending on where they are relevant to the shooting.
Both PCC’s video and the campus-wide email sent emphasized the concept “get out, hide out, keep out, take out” for students to be alert and quick in taking action during unpredictable scenarios like these.
“If your life is in jeopardy you use all the force necessary to keep you alive and eliminate the threat; use all the physical force you can to protect yourself,” Matchan said.
Matchan added that for the purpose of the training drill, the school’s faculty received limited training so they can practice procedures with provided information.
Campus Police also practiced the drill beforehand, as their role is “to be advisory and supportive to responding city municipal resources” in a case of an active shooter episode, according to Matchan.
“PCC’s police department conducts regular training exercises on a range of potential incidents, in cooperation with other local law enforcement agencies.” Boekelheide said. “As the first responders for our campus, they are trained to take all necessary action to effectively manage an incident and its aftermath.”
Though the drill was scheduled, some classes did not participate. Students who were on campus, yet were not in class, went on about their day during the scheduled drill. The informative nature of the training received criticism for its lack of preparation.
PCC student Alejandro Chavez thought the videos can simply be watched on his own time, and that the videos shouldn’t have cut short the time in the classroom.
“[The training videos taught] me nothing on how to react,” Chavez said. “Do you think someone in a situation like that will have the time to stop and think about what [they] saw in a video?”Shoot
Fullerton College also did a similar training drill in April 2017, in which students and faculty were were required to watch instructional videos in their classrooms.
In 2015, Citrus Community College tried to stimulate a false shooting, in which an armed person shooting fire blanks on campus. The Campus Reform reported that the drill was canceled last minute due to potential repercussions and criticism from professors and veterans on the fired blanks.
“Our expectation is for our campus community to review the information, watch the videos, and have discussions on how we may use this information to make us better prepared, with the goal of keeping as many people safe and secure,” Matchan said.