MU offers training, protocol for active shooter situation

The university provides two options for Citizens' Response to Active Threats training, one of which is up to two hours and the other up to four.

In response to the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, MU has taken steps to inform students of proper methods to take in case of an active shooter.

The Office of the Chancellor sent out an email Feb. 20 reminding students and staff of proper protocol and resources to prepare for an active shooter situation.

“This most recent incident reminds all of us to be vigilant and prepared for the unthinkable,” the email said.

The email provided a link for an “active shooter response tip sheet” made by the Department of Homeland Security. The tip sheet is a broad version of ALICE training, in which students are advised to first run and hide before, if necessary, attempting to fight the attacker.

MUPD Maj. Brian Weimer said the university adopts the same protocol as the DHS. The email also linked to a video made in 2016 called “Surviving an Active Shooter.”

Weimer said it is not MUPD nor the university’s responsibility to tell students exactly what to do. However, he said there are ways to prepare and use individual experience and instinct to respond. He also said it is university policy to tell students to stay out of harm’s way and to keep or get away from a possibly dangerous situation.

MUPD uses MU Alert, a messaging system aimed to keep students informed in cases of emergencies and potential threats to safety. Alerts are sent out through text and email, as well as posted on the MU Alert Twitter account and website.

Weimer advises students to remain updated through MU Alert when necessary to know the status of the university and be better able to make an informed decision in an emergency. For example, Weimer said, if a student is in their dorm room and sees there are reports of an armed person nearby, they might make the decision to stay inside.

Junior Colin Macgregor said he thinks the MU Alert system is flawed. In October, students were alerted through the university messaging system that there was a potential armed person on campus and advised to stay away from campus.

Macgregor said there were not enough messages sent out to students and there was a lot of communication through social media. The MU Alert Twitter account sent out 11 tweets that day, starting off with informing students about reports of an “active threat near Hitt St/Locust St.”

He said social media can be a useful tool for keeping people updated, but he would have rather seen more information sent out through texts so that more students could be informed of the situation.

“Texts are a broader form of communication,” Macgregor said. “They’re instantaneous and most, if not all, students have some kind of device that can receive a notification from a text immediately.”

Weimer also said he advises students to take advantage of MUPD’s Citizens' Response to Active Threats training. The course is based on the ALICE program and takes a “comprehensive approach to dealing with active shooter/violent intruder incidents that may occur in the workplace, school, or public settings,” according to MU’s website.

The training class is offered in two formats: as classroom-only that lasts up to two hours or with a “hands-on practical block” that is up to four hours. Students can sign up for the class through the university’s website.

Staff, faculty and graduate students of the MU English department were offered a training program through MUPD on Feb. 20.

“Students will learn how to react and respond to violent intruders by taking an active role in their own survival,” the website states.

Edited by Morgan Smith |

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