“The more we practice, the better we get. We hope and pray we never have a real situation out here like this, but by practicing with building employees, with our local partners in law enforcement and rescue, we can get better and better, if we ever do have a real scenario out here.”
- Mike Medders, UT Tyler police chief
The horrific and dangerous scene is all too familiar - shots fired, emergency responders rush to the scene to subdue a shooter but not before the suspect kills or injures others.
That was the scenario simulated inside the Robert R. Muntz Library at The University of Texas at Tyler, where first responders conducted an active shooter drill Wednesday.
In partnership with the Tyler Police Department, Tyler Fire Rescue, ETMC and the local office of the FBI, UT Tyler police staged the drill as a way to train employees and students on how to respond when they are faced with an active shooter situation.
Mike Medders, UT Tyler police chief, said the drill was important because it gives people involved a sense of realism.
“It’s really important because the library employees in the building today had no idea how the scenario would play out. They were instructed to use their run, hide, fight technique, which they did very well,” Medders said.
Run, hide and fight, created by the city of Houston and the Department of Homeland Security, is a protocol designed to help people take protective measures when they are involved in an active shooter situation. The protocol instructs people to run away from the situation if they can, hide from the perpetrator if they can’t run away and, as a last resort, fight the shooter with any weapons or improvised weapons they may have at their disposal.
The drill was staged not only for employees and students of UT Tyler but also for emergency response personnel, according to Medders.
“The more we practice, the better we get. We hope and pray we never have a real situation out here like this, but by practicing with building employees, with our local partners in law enforcement and rescue, we can get better and better, if we ever do have a real scenario out here,” Medders said.
He added that the drill provided an opportunity for the university police force to get familiar with working with other agencies that are not as familiar as university police are of the campus grounds and its buildings. In addition, the other agencies provide a level of professional expertise beneficial to the campus police team.
“That’s the great thing about unifying in response,” Medders said.
In addition to the drill, Medders said university police regularly trains student, faculty and staff groups on how to react to an active shooter situation and teaches them the building-specific plans designed to help them in the situation.
“It’s not just about how the police react,” he said. “We need our campus to be as prepared as possible, so we work with student staff and faculty on the plan. They have to know the plan just like the officers do.”