Nationally active shooter situations do not occur often on college campuses, but we know all too well that the possibility exists and it is important to have protocols in place on how to respond. These kinds of situations are always unpredictable. They are dynamic situations that usually evolve rapidly and the response decisions are influenced by the multitude of variables present. The Wittenberg Police and Springfield Police Departments are trained and equipped to respond to an emergency incident of this nature. The police will evaluate the situation to determine the best course of action for the safety of the Wittenberg community. Springfield Police will be responsible for all tactical operations. Wittenberg University will provide available service assistance.
The immediate response of the first officers on the scene is to take aggressive action to find and stop the shooter or shooters. As they move into the affected area, rescue efforts will be delayed until the shooter is located and stopped or no longer a threat to life safety. If you are wounded or with someone who is wounded, these officers will bypass you to search for the shooter and stop the killing. Rescue teams will follow shortly to aid you and others.
The following protocol is sound and generally applicable but must be adapted to the specific situation. Bottom line, if you hear shots fired on campus or if you see or know that an armed person is shooting people, protect yourself first - move to a safe location. Please take time to view this re-enactment video of an active shooter situation. It may help you to know what to do in a similar situation.
IF THE SHOOTER IS OUTSIDE YOUR BUILDING:
- If you can do so safely, inform building occupants.
- Close and lock your door and all windows. If you cannot lock the door, try to block the door with desks and chairs.
- Turn off all the lights.
- Seek protective cover. Stay away from doors and windows.
- Keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room.
- Do not answer the door or respond to commands until you are certain they are issued by a police officer.
- Wait for police to assist you out of the building.
IF THE SHOOTER IS INSIDE YOUR BUILDING:
If it is possible to escape the area safely and avoid danger, do so by the nearest exit or window
- Evacuate to a safe area away from the danger, and take protective cover. Stay there until emergency responders arrive. Leave in the room books, backpacks, purses, etc.
- Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately.
- As you exit the building, keep your hands above your head and listen for instructions that may be given by police officers. If an officer points a firearm at you, make no movement that may cause the officer to mistake your actions for a threat. Try to stay calm.
- If you get out of the building and do not see a police officer, Call 911 and the Wittenberg University Police Department at 1-937-327-6363, or use a Blue Light phone and provide the dispatcher with the following information:
a. Your name
b. Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
c. Number of shooters (if known)
d. Identification or description of shooter(s)
e. Number of persons who may be involved
f. Your exact location
g. Injuries to anyone, if known
If you are unable to escape the building, move out of the hallway and into an office or classroom and try to lock the door
- If the door will not lock, try barricading the door with desks and chairs. Lie on the floor and/or under a desk and remain silent.
- Try to avoid rooms with large open window space.
- Silence cell phones.
- Place signs in exterior windows to identify the location of injured persons
- Wait for the police to come and find you.
IF THE SHOOTER ENTERS YOUR OFFICE OR CLASSROOM:
There is no set procedure in this situation. If possible call 911 and talk with a police dispatcher. If you cannot speak, leave the phone line open so the police can hear what is going on.
Use common sense. If you are hiding and flight is impossible, attempts to negotiate with the suspect may be successful. Playing dead may also be a consideration.
Attempting to overcome the suspect with force is a last resort that should only be considered in the most extreme circumstances. Only you can decide if this is something you should do. Remember there may be more than one shooter.
If the shooter exits your area and you are able to escape, leave the area immediately. Do not touch anything in the area and remember to be alert for responding police officers who may mistake you as the shooter.
While escaping, as soon as you see a police officer put your hands over your head and immediately comply with the officers instructions.
WHAT TO DO IF TAKEN HOSTAGE:
- Remain calm and be patient. Time is on your side. Avoid drastic action. The captors in all probability do not want to harm persons held by them. Such direct action further implicates the captor to additional offenses.
- The initial 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions, be alert. Your focus is on staying alive. Don't make mistakes that could hazard your well-being.
- Don't speak unless spoken to and only when necessary. The captor is emotionally unbalanced. Attempt to establish rapport with the captor. Don't talk down to the captor. Avoid appearing hostile and avoid arguments. Maintain eye contact with the captor but do not stare. If medications, first aid or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, say so.
- Be Compliant. Treat the captor like royalty. Comply with instructions the best you can. Expect the unexpected. Displaying a certain amount of fear can possibly work to your advantage.
- Be observant. When you are released, or when you escape, the personal safety of others may depend on what you remember about the situation. Be prepared to answer the police on the phone.