Inside OSU's optional active shooter training, 'Shots Fired' video

Training

A belt could save your life if a gunman enters your campus building.

If the door won't lock, close it and wrap the belt around the metal "door closer" connecting it to the doorframe, said Oklahoma State University Senior Officer K. Adam Queen.

Queen trains OSU students, staff and faculty on what to do if confronted by a gunman.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the public doesn't know what to do," Queen said. "Our No. 1 thing is we want to prevent something from happening."

At the beginning of his "Shots Fired" presentation, Queen points out more than 600 deaths have occurred from violent crimes such as shootings and stabbings on educational campuses across the country since 1992.

The training encourages people in such situations to "get out, hide out, take out."

People should leave the area if possible and take advantage of objects such as desks and chairs that can be used to break windows if leaving through the door is not an option, Queen said.

If people must stay in the area, they should lock classroom doors if possible, turn out the lights and stay away from doors and windows, he said.

Queen also said people could throw items at gunmen if necessary.

"Just like when we are young, we're taught to 'stop, drop and roll,' we need to be taught, 'get out, hide out, take out,' so that we know our options," Queen said.

Departments and student groups can call or email OSUPD and request to be trained, Queen said.

The training lasts about an hour and covers topics such as ways to identify a gunman and how to use surrounding items such as books and computers for protection.

A microbiology professor in charge of scheduling safety seminars for his department said he hadn't been through the "Shots Fired" training in at least 10 years. He said the recent media attention on college campus shootings and knowledge of improved police department strategies encouraged him to schedule the training.

"Different tactics have come about, people react differently than they used to in terms of police force and we want to know what we would do," Jeff Hadwiger said.

Queen said the OSU police department is prepared to handle a gunman on campus.

OSU Police Chief David Altman said officers go through an active shooter training class and are continually trained.

"Training is key," Altman said. "It's the most important thing."

Queen said the training serves to educate and bridge a communication gap between the public and police officers.

"The problem is the public, not having been through training, doesn't know (what to do)," Queen said. "They don't know the options, they don't know what to expect from (OSUPD), so what we will basically want to do is get us all on the same page."

During training, Queen discusses the ways information would be disseminated if a gunman were on campus: through mass notification and public address systems.

OSU Communications and OSUPD work together to notify the OSU community via text message, phone and email in instances where safety might be threatened.

In an emergency, the fire alarms and tornado sirens can be used as public address systems, he said.

Queen explains people should be wary of abnormal behaviors such as aggressiveness, attempts to self-harm and statements in support of using violence to resolve a problem, among others.

He also said people should be suspicious if they see the bulge of a gun on someone's person or odd clothing choices such as someone wearing a trench coat during the summer.

Queen also introduces people to Orange Shield, OSU's mobile safety app.

Orange Shield has many features such as allowing individuals to text and send photos to OSUPD.

A microbiology post-doctoral research associate said before he attended the training, he didn't have a plan if a gunman came into his classroom.

"That's probably the last thing you want to think about is an active shooter in your classroom because you're the guy that's standing up," Jerreme Jackson said. "You're the best target. That's scary."

Jackson said he feels more prepared for an active shooter situation but hopes it's information he never has to use.

"I think the most important things for me are pay attention but also the advice (Queen) gave us as far as how to handle a situation when you're leading a classroom," Jackson said. "The students--despite the fact that they probably don't want to be there with you in the class--at that point are probably going to look to you for some sort of wisdom."

Queen said the presentations given to students and faculty vary slightly. He said he emphasizes to faculty that students would likely look to them for guidance if a gunman were on campus.

"(The professor has) an ability to kind of bark orders when something happens," he said.

Queen said when departments go through the training together, they begin talking about potential code words and coming up with strategies.

"Everybody in the department will be on the same page," Queen said. "They'll start discussing it and get those wheels turning to come up with plans."

Queen said he doesn't think making the training available online would have the same effect as going through the program in person.

"Because there's not face-to-face interaction, we kind of tune out," Queen said. "Having that interaction of face-to-face communication is much better, much more important."

Queen said he hopes the training helps people realize the importance of being prepared.

"Just stop for a sec (sic) every once in a while and think, 'What would I do?'" Queen said. "Come up with some plans, wherever you are, and have something in mind to do just in case."

Jackson said he doesn't know why the "Shots Fired" training hasn't been made mandatory.

"It's not going to waste anyone's time, certainly, to be safe," Jackson said.

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