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Community Safety

Training on MSU Campus Prepares Law Enforcement for Active Shooter Situation

The MSU Department of Safety and Transportation and the Springfield Police Department worked together to practice a variety of scenarios—from injured people on the ground with the possibility of a shooter still in the area to covert searches.  The training took place Tuesday in a residence hall and an academic building.

SPD lieutenant, Jason Laub, said training opportunities like this one, in a realistic environment, are important in helping officers prepare for real life situations.

"It's nice to have a familiarity with the layout of the campus, where all the buildings are, the insides of the building.  It just goes for smoother operations should something unfortunate happen," said Laub.

Tom Johnson, director of MSU’s Safety and Transportation Department, said they have "a great relationship" with the Springfield Police Department.  "Doing this training just helps us understand not only what they do but also helps us understand what we need to be doing so that we can work together to resolve any situations like this," said Johnson.

He feels confident in plans the university has in place to deal with an active shooter situation.  Events like the one held Tuesday help them fine tune those plans.

"It gives us a chance to look at where our weaknesses are at and where our strengths are at so we can sit down after this is over and talk about what we could do better," he said, "what went right, what can we do better?"

At least 25,000 students are expected to be on campus this fall.  Johnson wants them to always be aware of what’s going on around them.  And if they suspect something’s not right, they should always report it.

"If you see something that looks out of place and it feels weird to you then, ok, there's probably something you need to let somebody know about," said Johnson.  "Because we'd rather come and check something out and find out it's nothing then to not check something out and have something happen."

He and Laub advocate the "run, hide, fight" response in the event of an actual active shooter situation. 

"We advocate that if you can separate yourself from the incidents, that's your number one priority," Laub said.  "Try to find somewhere to hide, and, if worse case scenario, if you're out of options, we encourage people to fight back."