Since the most recent tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla., many campus community members have asked the SUNY Potsdam University Police Department what they should do in the event of an “active shooter” incident on campus.
Even though active shooters on college and university campuses are extremely rare, the University Police Department understands that these incidents invoke a lot of fear and are anxiety-provoking, Chief Timothy Ashley II said.
In an effort to better prepare students, faculty and staff to handle such an event, the SUNY Potsdam University Police Department recently hosted two Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training sessions over the past month.
“The training is important,” Chief Ashley said. “As unpleasant as it is for all of us, in the unlikely scenario where we have some kind of active shooter situation, we believe that by providing this training, people will be better prepared to protect themselves.”
Led by Chief Ashley, the 1.5-hour presentation provided a concise order of operations for handling active shooters: Avoid, Deny, Defend.
- Avoid: The first priority is avoidance, which calls for an awareness of your surroundings and potential exits, as well as distancing yourself from the threat.
- Deny: When escape is risky or impossible, civilians should deny the shooter. Create barriers or slow down a threat from getting to you.
- Defend: Defending yourself is a last resort that should be carried out with commitment.
Once you are certain of your safety, inform police of the emergency. Never assume someone else is calling first responders. If you encounter officers responding to the shooting, show your hands to confirm that you aren’t a threat and provide them with relevant information: a description of the shooter, where they went, what they’re armed with and how many there were.
This simple flowchart for action is becoming more essential for community members to memorize due to the increased frequency of these events nationwide.
In the event of a crisis, SUNY Potsdam uses Potsdam Rave Alert to send emergency notifications to campus via text message and email. Students and employees are strongly encouraged to sign up for this service and make sure that their contact information is up to date each semester.
In addition, the College also offers a campus safety mobile app, Rave Guardian, which students can use to send tips to the police quickly and securely, among many other features.
For more information about upcoming active shooter trainings, please contact SUNY Potsdam’s University Police Department, at (315) 267-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about these and other services offered by University Police at SUNY Potsdam, visit www.potsdam.edu/studentlife/safety.
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.