Senate, university collaborate for active shooter simulation

Thomas Caffall, a student at Texas A&M; University killed police officer Brian Bachmann and bystander Chris Northcliff and eventually died in a hail of gunfire after a shootout with police in 2012.

Four men shot and killed two students and wound a third in an on-campus shooting at the University of Central Arkansas in 2008.

“There have been 13 campus shootings in the last couple of years, including elementary and middle schools,” Student Senate member Winston Sher said.

Scenarios like these are what Sher had in mind when he contacted the SMU Office of Emergency Management and asked them to hold an “active shooter” drill April 2 in McFarlin Auditorium from 3 to 5 p.m. for students.

SMU held an “active shooter” drill last semester, but the drill did not involve students outside of the SMU Student Senate.

“The student senators thought that the student body should be involved in the process. It is a test to see how the procedure should be done in the future,” Student Senate advisor Jennifer Jones said.

The organization of this drill was the first time anyone in the administration has been approached by student body representation.

“We are very impressed by Senator Sher,” said Kim Cobb, SMU director of media relations. “This is the first time that students have done this anywhere.”

The event will take place in three parts. The first portion of the drill will be a presentation by the SMU Office of Police and Risk Management to those in attendance and a video, run, hide, fight that will tell students what to do in case of a shooter on campus.

At an undisclosed time after the presentation, SMU police will have a surprise shooter drill that will test what the students have learned and the policies and procedures the students and police use to disarm the situation. Finally, everyone will regroup and discuss what worked well and what needs improvement for the student body to be safer.

To ensure the security of the students attending the event and those who are on campus but not aware of the event, SMU police will conduct a sweep before the drill, and students will be required to sign an agreement before the drill, which prohibits anyone who is participating from using social media and causing panic on campus.

“We are the first university in our region (the North Texas region) to do a lockdown drill,” junior Senator Fantine Giap said. “SMU ID is required to attend, and we will be providing Jimmy John’s and prizes.”

Doors open at 3 p.m., and will close at 3:30 p.m. Door prizes will be awarded during that time.

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