Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

August 2012

Officers Undergo Active Shooter Training at NSU

Though college campuses have a reputation for quiet and are among the safest places to live and work, rare instances of gunmen terrorizing people on university grounds have forced campus police departments to contemplate the worst.

At Northeastern State University, campus police officers and other law enforcement agencies took part in active shooter tactical and medical training arranged by the NSU department of public safety and campus police.

"Obviously, this is training we hope never to use," said NSU DPS Chief Patti Buhl. "We were particularly interested in this training because it included a medical component."

The training was arranged by Capt. James Bell of the NSU police through PerSys Medical Training Center and ISI LLC, both of Houston. Instruction was held June 18-20.

Four NSU officers participated, as did members of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and campus police departments of the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma.

Tactical active shooter training included firearm and entry tactics, clearing of rooms, hallways and stairwells, evacuation procedures, delegation of responsibilities, and identification of potentially dangerous objects and determining when they are safe.

The tactical first aid training incorporated rapid assessment of ballistic wounds, airway management, hemorrhage control and casualty evacuation.

"We received training from people with experience in the field, not career consultants," said NSU Officer James Mynatt. "The medical instructor was a former EMT who worked for the Houston Fire Department and the reserves of the Houston Police Department. The active shooter trainer was a former unit commander in the Israeli Defense Forces."

Buhl said the focus on combat injury added a dimension to the officers' medical training.

"We are all certified first aid-CPR trained to American Heart Association standards," she said. "But this medical training offered something vital. Obviously, the chance of someone being injured in an active shooter situation is high – it is a dynamic and dangerous situation. This training taught our officers how to stabilize and remove people with wounds and get back on task."

Working with officers from off campus provided an added training benefit, and Buhl said it was the reason NSU invited other agencies to participate.

"It allows us to assess how well we work together," she said. "There were officers in the training who had never met one another, but their teamwork was excellent during mock scenarios. That is important because if something were to happen there will be other agencies helping us, and we assist other agencies."

Mynatt said if an emergency required employment of active shooter tactics, the training would reduce response time.

"Because of these techniques we learned, we can go straight to work with other officers," he said. "We won't need to spend a bunch of time assigning tasks or assessing expertise. We can decide quickly what needs to be done."

To learn more about the responsibilities and services of the NSU department of public safety and campus police click on "Police & Parking" at www.nsuok.edu.

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