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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

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Would I survive? A student's view of OUPD shooter session


ALiCE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Escape, is a national program that trains civilians on how to respond to an active shooter situation. These sessions are presented by the Ohio University Police Department. They are free and open to the public. The following is a student’s account of the first ALiCE session, which took place Monday, Feb. 18, in the Baker Center Theater. The next session will take place Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Baker Center Theater.

Walking into the Baker Center Theater, I had no idea what to expect for the coming two hours. Three police officers stood at the front of the room in full uniform, watching the audience filter in. A PowerPoint presentation lit up the theater screen in red and black font with the word “POLICE” in all capital letters across the bottom. The scene was intimidating at first, but as I waited for the presentation to begin, I remembered that the police officers’ job is to save lives. If they can protect us, sharing a fraction of their knowledge could only be beneficial.

When I told her I was going into the event, my mom—an employee at an elementary school—told me about the training program for school lockdowns she went through; I wondered if I would experience something similar. In the wake of Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and other school shootings, her training and the training of others has become more important than ever. Though she knew I had sat through countless college lectures and seminars already, she convinced me that this training would be one of the most important ones I could attend.

The first question we were asked by the officers was, “How many of you would be the leaders during an active shooter situation?” Only a few individuals raised their hands. I was not one of them. My reaction surprised me and I felt disappointed with myself. Would I really not try to save others if our lives were in danger? Would I only try to protect myself? I wanted my answer to change by the end of the session.

The presentation took us through different examples of school shootings. Some videos were real footage; others were simulated. The actual video of the Columbine shootings gave me chills as I watched the actions of different teachers and students. Some students ran away. Others became static targets and hid under tables. As I watched the hiding students with the gunmen in the room, I wanted to tell them to do something, anything, to make it out alive. Though it was hard to watch, this footage was the most useful tool to see what actions saved lives and what decisions proved lethal.

These videos drove home the officers’ main point that they taught at the session: Do anything but nothing. Time after time, the people who did nothing in the face of danger were shot or walked away extremely lucky. The videos also showed how training has had a positive impact during active shooter situations. Teachers at Columbine had little to no training, whereas teachers at Sandy Hook used their training to save the lives of their students, even if it cost them their own lives.

The next section of the presentation consisted of statistics and key facts. The percentage of shots that hit a shooter’s target was surprising, as well as the percentage of shots that a policeman will miss in a similar situation. These statistics you will have to discover yourself by attending a session. Photographs and PowerPoint slides of past active shooters demonstrated the characteristics exhibited by these individuals, giving us insight into their minds and lives.

The final film, put together by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, was a neat summary of all the information presented. A question and answer session with the OUPD officers followed, proving that the officers’ knowledge could provide a helpful and complete answer to every question asked.

The video footage, pictures, officers’ knowledge, statistics and facts all combined for an engaging and informational presentation for everyone in the Ohio University and Athens communities.

I left the theater with a different mindset. With my new knowledge, I not only have the ability to save myself during an active shooter situation, but the lives of others as well. I am now armed with this knowledge while an active shooter is only armed with a gun.

If you had the chance to speak to a superhero, would you? That is what the officers at ALiCE training are—real life superheroes. They have the knowledge and experience to save lives. If two hours could save your life and the lives of others, wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

The next ALiCE training session will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the Baker Center Theater. The event is free and open to the public. If you cannot attend the session, it will be streamed live at http://www.ohio.edu/mediaserver/live.cfm?videoid=bf51c274c748