Stony Brook University is taking measures to prepare students for an active shooter situation following last month’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The Stony Brook University Police Department (UPD) and Department of Residential Risk Management held the first of three active shooter trainings this semester on Thursday, March 1.
“I didn’t realize that they were doing this program, and because of the recent events I thought that I should come out and see what I should do if anything like that were to happen here,” freshman mechanical engineering major Thea Vijaya Kumar said.
The hour-long presentation covered the “Run, Hide, Fight” method, which has been implemented in schools and universities across the nation. The method’s name describes the order of the steps students should take to protect themselves against an active shooter. Their first resort should be to flee. If that is not possible, then they should hide. If all else fails, they should fight back.
In addition to hearing from UPD Community Relation Officers Peter Thompson, Jared King and Joe Bica, students were shown a short video about “Run, Hide, Fight.” One student was asked to come up and demonstrate the proper way to exit a building during an active shooting.
Many students posed hypothetical questions about what they should do in specific scenarios.
“Anything is possible,” Thompson said to the crowd. “Every active shooter situation is different. This is not set in stone. These are the best options we are giving you. We are doing the best we can in trying to stop this active shooter.”
Thompson added that UPD works closely with outside organizations, like the Suffolk County Police Department, to train its officers on how to handle an active shooter.
“I didn’t really think that active shooters could be possible on campus, but seeing the video that the police officers made puts it in prospective that it could happen on campus,” sophomore anthropology major Jhinelle Walker said. “It made me more worried that something like that could happen here, but at least now I know how to handle that situation.”
King spoke about Stony Brook’s emergency email and text notification system, SB Alert. There are several means of emergency communications built into the infrastructure on campus. For instance, there is a siren on top of the library that can sound to signal an emergency. There are also LCD screens located in buildings across campus that can display messages alerting students and faculty to any potential dangers.
Assistant Chief of Police Eric Olsen said he does not want students to fear the police or fear the potential that something may happen here at Stony Brook. Olsen praised UPD’s response time and the “high-tech” defense that the campus has for active shooter scenarios.
The last training session of the semester will take place on April 23 at 7 p.m. in Room 22 of Roth Cafe.