Ashley LaFayette, Co-News Editor
In order to inform and prepare students for active shooter scenarios, the Lewis University Police Department is providing three training sessions during the next several months. LUPD’s certified instructors teach interested participants the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) program.
The ALICE Training Institute’s program is based on years of research on active shooter incidents conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the New York Police Department.
The program offers insights on what to expect during these dangerous situations, and how to maximize your chances to survive. LUPD launched the ALICE program in the fall of 2012 and has already trained over 1,200 members of the community.
“My catchphrase for the training is: ‘Doing something is better than doing nothing,’” said Deputy Chief of Police Michael Zegadlo. “Part of the training examines previous active shooter events and we explore how survivors survived because they were able to run, hide or fight as opposed to just freezing and doing nothing.”
Regardless of the relatively low rates of gun violence on campuses in the U.S., ALICE training is more valuable now than ever before as we’ve continued to see mass shooting numbers increase over the past 15 years.
According to the FBI, only 3 of the 40 mass shootings that occurred in the U.S. in 2015 were reported to have occurred at institutions of higher education. Fortunately, Lewis has not faced any credible threats or incidents of gun violence.
Despite the reality that active shooter scenarios are rare on college campuses, Zegadlo stresses the importance of being prepared.
“In the same way we conduct fire drills, and install smoke detectors and sprinklers to prepare for an unlikely but potentially catastrophic building fire, training for an active shooter event helps the community prepare for an unlikely but potentially catastrophic violent incident,” Zegadlo said.
Each training session includes a classroom presentation followed by live action simulations that help participants put the ALICE concepts into practice.
The training helps provide people with a sense of confidence that they would know what to do if the circumstance were to occur.
“Participants unanimously have reported feeling better prepared to survive an active shooter incident after being trained than before,” Zegadlo said.
As a way of giving back to the community, LUPD offers the sessions free of charge to anyone on or off campus. The three remaining sessions are scheduled to take place in St. Charles Borromeo Room 152 from 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 19, Jan. 27 and Feb. 10.
Each session is limited to 30 participants, so those interested in attending should reserve a spot as soon as possible. Sign up by emailing Campus Safety Officer Claire Singleton at firstname.lastname@example.org.