Western has no plans to update training program in light of Florida shootings

Institutional News

Missouri Western has no mandatory active shooter training for attending students and doesn’t have plans to update active shooter training due to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Western does hope to increase the frequency of the training, however. The training consists of active shooter videos available on the Western Police Department website, a PDF explaining how students should act if they are in a hostage situation or locked in a building with the shooter and have occasional active shooter drills. The last active shooter drill took place in 2014 in Popplewell Hall.

According to Risk Manager Timothy Kissock Western has planned on getting the word out on active shooter training available to students before the school shooting.

“We’re going to do more [active shooter training] this spring,” Kissock said. “We have several components to it. We, of course, have our police department trained on a somewhat regular basis reacting to it. In addition to that, I will be getting more active shooter training out to the faculty and staff this week and we will have some live sessions as well. We haven’t done any formalized [training sessions] in over a year.”

The campus police department is trained by the St. Joseph police department about once a year according to Kissock.

In the case of an active shooter, Griffon Alert sends a message either via email, text or both depending on your settings. This is the same system that alerts students to snow days, tornado warnings and bomb threats. The Alert System has never been activated for a gun-related issue and there has never been an active shooter on campus, according to Kissock.

“We are really a pretty safe campus here, our record stands by itself,” Kissock said.

The reason there has not been mandatory active shooter training for students due to the repercussions.

“It’s not mandatory because some people it might upset them too much to see it,” Kissock said. “They are certainly available on the police department website so anybody can see them anytime.”

Class of 2016 graduate and news producer for 41 Action News Jodi Stamback wrote a story for a class about active shooter training available at Western and didn’t think Western was prepared.

“So when I did my piece on active shooter training at [Western] years ago I started by just asking students and faculty what the protocol was for an active shooter on campus and few people were able to answer me,” Stamback said. “The one thing I found out by doing the research was how few people knew about what the protocol was on campus. What the procedures were. Everyone just referred to the little yellow boxes that were in the hallways and my question to them was, ‘how useful is that if you’re telling people that there’s an active shooting but you don’t know where, when or what to do?'”

While Stamback and Kissock said there is no easy solution to preventing school shootings, Stamback said mandatory shooter training and drills may be beneficial to Western.

“Mandatory drills wouldn’t be a bad idea in my opinion. Even if it’s just doing the drills during the busiest times on campus, if that’s what gets people more involved understanding more what these drills are then I think it would be worth it,” Stamback said. “I don’t know what the solution is but I don’t think it hurts to practice.”