Changing the Mindset in Higher Education: The Critical Need for Active Shooter Training in Campus Communities

Changing the Mindset in Higher Education: The Critical Need for Active Shooter Training in Campus Communities

Kimberly A. Myers (Goodwin University, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4072-5.ch006
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This chapter discusses the need for administrators, faculty, staff, and students to be prepared and trained for an active shooter situation. Higher education institutions are generally multi-faceted and multi-layered entities within which many different elements must interact in a cohesive way in order for the organization to be effective and achieve its mission. Active shooter incidents are dangerous, uncertain, rapidly changing, and can happen anywhere. All members of a campus community need to feel a sense of safety and security within their work environment and on campus.
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The following section on college campus shootings is drawn from previous work that I have written and researched (Myers, 2016).

The desire to protect all members of a campus community at institutions of higher education is of paramount concern to educational leaders and public safety professionals. Active shootings have become all too common in American life. Lately, a 24-hour period seldom passes in which we do not hear about some type of active shooter incident occurring. These events are often embellished in the media and leave us desensitized to the possible threat that may exist. In the past, colleges and university campuses were presumed to be safe havens for all members of the community, a place to acquire new experiences, meet new people, and more importantly, a place to learn. Unfortunately, as time goes on, higher education campuses have become a common place for targeted gun violence and active shooter incidents.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Higher Education: Education beyond the secondary level that is provided by a college or university.

Targeted Violence: Any incident of violence where a known attacker selects a particular target prior to the violent attack (Vossekuil, Reddy, Fein, Borum, & Modzeleski, 2000).

Campus Public Safety Director: A leader who is ordinarily charged with coordinating the development of policies, strategies, and procedures related to crime prevention, suppression, and investigation; overseeing the implementation of related federal, state, and local policies; and supervising and deploying public safety personnel.

Training: The process of learning the skills that you need for a particular activity or job.

Threat Assessment: Efforts to identify, assess, and manage individuals and groups who may pose a threat of targeted violence (Fein, Vossekuil, Pollack, Borum, Modzeleski, & Reddy, 2002).

Campus: The grounds and buildings of a college, university, or school.

Active Shooter: Term used by law enforcement to describe a situation in which a shooting is in progress and an aspect of the crime may affect the protocols used in responding to and reacting at the scene of the incident. Unlike a defined crime, such as murder or mass killing, the active aspect inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses (Blair & Schweit, 2014).

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