GUPD develops new active shooter response training program and website

January 15, 2016

Photo: Georgetown Voice


A new training program and website aims to educate community members about responding to an active shooter situation, Georgetown University Police Department Chief Jay Gruber announced in a university-wide email on Jan. 13.

“The training program, based on best practices from Federal law enforcement officials, is a thirty-minute course designed to increase awareness of the ‘run, hide, fight’ protocols in case of an active shooter or violent incident,” Gruber wrote.

Groups or departments can register for the 30-minute course, which is taught jointly by GUPD and the Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity, at the new website. The page also contains descriptions of intervention and prevention resources such as the Threat Assessment Program, a program for reporting suspicious behavior in order to identify and prevent threatening behavior and dangerous situations.

In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section, the site defines an “active shooter” as “an individual whose activity is immediately causing death and serious injury who is using a weapon and is not contained. The weapon is usually a gun but could be a knife, other blunt object, or other threatening weapon.”

Gruber cited the increased threats from recent active shootings as the impetus behind the new initiative. “The shootings in Paris and San Bernardino put some real emphasis on the need to take a systematic approach on training and informing our Georgetown Community on how to respond to active shooter attacks,” he wrote in an email to the Voice. “Campus responders are well trained to respond to this type of emergency but we felt that our community members were not well trained to respond to this type of emergency.”

DEMOC emergency protocols for fire, shelter-in-place due to inclement weather, and active shooter situations have long been posted in every classroom, but the move to create an active shooter preparedness course enhances emergency preparedness and awareness of protocols across the campus community.

Though the Active Shooter Training is currently available only for groups, it is to start meeting next month, according to Gruber. “Having a website and a training program dedicated to how our community should respond to the active shooter attack was a next logical step to increasing awareness.”

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It is very disappointing to read Chief Gruber citing Paris and San Bernardino as reasons for beginning this new training program. Such talk increases Islamophobia in our society and reminds our Muslim students that once again Georgetown in an unsafe space for minorities.