With most students away for the summer, Eastern Kentucky University Public Safety is planning several events designed to enhance campus safety, culminating with a full-scale exercise involving an active shooter scenario.
The active shooter exercise will take place on Tuesday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Coates and Jones buildings and adjacent Jones parking lot.
Emergency responders from several partnering law enforcement agencies from surrounding communities will be involved “in as real-world an environment as we can create, while having safeguards and checkpoints in place,” said Gary Folckemer, director of emergency management and security for EKU. “It’s all designed to walk us through our response protocol, to push ourselves to see if we can break our plan.”
The exercise area will also include the Crabbe Street lot, the Ravine and the following campus buildings: Foster, Campbell, Burrier, Roark, Memorial Science, Moore, Cammack and the Alumni Center at Blanton House. Those within the area can expect to hear simulated gunfire and other loud noises, and witness simulated injuries and considerable activity among law enforcement officers.
A “soft outer perimeter,” encompassing the area bounded by Crabbe Street, University Drive and Lancaster Avenue will be marked by caution tape and “Police Training in Progress” signs, and a “harder inner perimeter” corresponding to the training area around the Coates and Jones buildings and Jones lot will be marked by police line tape and additional signage. Only Crabbe Street will be closed to traffic during the exercise.
“We are as prepared as possible should we have a targeted violent attack,” Folckemer said, “but you never know for sure how everything will pan out unless you exercise your plan vigorously and see if there are opportunities for improvement.”
Noting that the EKU Police has been accredited three times by the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, Folckemer added, “We have excellent officers who are well-trained, but we are always looking to enhance that training.”
Volunteers, including those who work in the Jones and Coates buildings, are needed to portray victims and bystanders. Anyone interested should contact Folckemer at email@example.com. Others who work in the two buildings will be given instructions prior to the exercise.
Three training events are scheduled on campus prior to the July active shooter exercise:
* Behavioral analysis unit training for the EKU Student Assistance and Intervention Team (SAIT), conducted by the FBI, “to help us make the best decisions when we have a student we think might be of concern.”
* Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) for law enforcement officers, “a very hands-on tactical training component,” also conducted by the FBI. (Two two-day sessions are scheduled for approximately 30 officers each session.)
* A tabletop exercise related to the active shooter scenario.