By George Mauzy
Ohio University Police Department Sgt. Brian Kapple had a simple message for his audience Wednesday morning: Don't just sit there during an attack -- take action.
The difference could save a life, Kapple told more than 100 non-bargaining classified employees and local primary and secondary school administrators who gathered at Baker University Center for a workshop aimed at teaching participants how to survive an active shooter incident. Since 2000, 14 such incidents on campuses across the country have claimed the lives of 65 people, he said.
Throughout the two-hour session, Kapple encouraged attendees to think aggressively and adopt a warrior-like mindset if ever confronted by an active shooter, which law enforcement officials define as an armed person who has killed others and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to other potential victims.
The message, he acknowledged, might run counter to prior industry advice, which encourages people to stay put during an attack. That's a good starting point, but it's not the only option, he said.
"ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) training is an enhancement to the lockdown method, which tells you to stay where you are and hide or barricade yourself from the attacker," Kapple said. "It didn't work at Columbine, which showed the shortcomings of this method. A static, passive target equals an injured party."
ALICE was designed by former Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team members to teach people about methods they can use to survive an active shooter situation.
Kapple told his audience that the best way to avoid injury is to evacuate the area. But when that's not possible, he said another survival method -- called counter -- should be used to distract, confuse or gain control of the assailant.
"This training is going to give you some ideas to mentally prepare yourself as well as let you know what you can do physically," Kapple said.
Kapple and OUPD police officer Brandon King then demonstrated various self-defense techniques to disarm an attacker and how to use items such as furniture to distract or overpower the subject.
Attendees said the workshop was valuable.
"This training was a real eye-opener," said Amy Meeks, a library associate at Alden Library. "We all really need to think about what we would do if put in this situation. You think you know what to do, but it could be a big mistake that costs you your life."
Nelsonville-York High School Principal Elise Stephan said the workshop gave her things to think about.
"Our situation is a little different because the state mandates we teach the lockdown method, and we also take on the role of parent because the students are underage," she said. "I like the fact that the workshop showed some other ways for handling a difficult situation. These are techniques we need to seriously consider in the future."
Classified Senate Chair Marlene Swartz said she was pleased that nearly 200 people attended morning or afternoon sessions of the workshop. Classified Senate decided to host the training after hearing positive feedback from other campus groups.
"This is great training for anyone, especially classified employees," Swartz said. "We are often the first people someone sees when they enter a department or office."
Kapple said other university groups interested in hosting a workshop can contact him at 740-593-1911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUPD and Administrative Senate will host an ALICE Violent Intruder Defense Instructor Course training Jan. 20-21 at the Human Resources Training Center. Successful participants will gain certification as ALICE instructors. The cost is $395, and class size is limited to 25.
For more information or to register, visit www.roseminars.com and click on "Register: ALICE Instructor Course" in the upper left corner and click on the locations link at the bottom of the page. Interested individuals also can call 977-OK2-WIN1.