EWU Police offer Critical Incident Training

By Jaclyn Archer, Contributing Writer

On Jan. 28 the EWU Police will sponsor Critical Incident Training for students, faculty and staff who wish to learn how to appropriately respond to an active shooter situation.

The training will take place from 3-5 p.m. in room 213E of the Digital Archives Building.

“We talk about historical perspectives and case studies of incidents, specific to active shooter situations on campus,” said Director of Public Safety and EWU Police Chief Tim Walters. “We’re specific to who the real first responders are, and that’s the people who are real close proximity when the shooting starts.”

Walters said the training covers details such as how to find exits, the fastest way to get away from the shooter and what to do if the shooter is in your area.

The training, which is derived from the best practices of the Office of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, is open to everyone but Walters said it is especially important for teachers to attend.

“We want to get to as many faculty members as possible because, in the classroom, they really are the leaders,” Walters said.

Approximately three-quarters of the 50 to 70 people who attend each session are faculty and staff, including facility managers and other non-professors, according to Walters. However, “basic training” is offered as a part of freshman orientation and the EWU Police accept invitations to offer training to various classes and departments around Eastern.

“We’re about the campus more outside of this classroom setting,” said Walters. “We try and avail ourselves as much as possible. We know that faculty members and students are busy during many of the periods we train.”

While the training has not led to many arrests, Walters said it promotes a culture of awareness.

“One of the big things we’ve seen and one of the things we really focus on in the training is, ‘If you see something, say something,’ and we’ve gotten calls where people have seen something suspicious or out of the ordinary,” said Walters. “If they see something, they do call us. … The awareness piece is really what we’re after.”

Eastern began providing critical incident training after the April 16, 2007, shooting at Virginia Tech that claimed 33 lives. Fall 2015, the EWU Police decided to begin offering the training at least once a quarter.

“We haven’t had anything rise to this critical level, but our view is that we want to be prepared, and we also have to acknowledge that it could happen here,” said Walters.

“This training is very important and critical. … Not only is the training specific to the university setting, but no matter where [students] are in the world,” said Walters. “We’ve had shootings in theaters, schools, concert venues, at intersections. … the tips and info we provide will help them in those scenarios as well.