Plans begin for active shooter training program

Carly Mathews

If an active shooter incident were to occur on campus, WKU is taking steps towards being more prepared.

Patricia Minter, associate history professor and chairwoman of the Faculty Welfare and Professional Responsibilities Committee for University Senate, said an active shooter training program is in the works to come to WKU.

The program’s incentive stems from the overall trend of school shootings and the lack of active shooter training at WKU.

In a report to the senate on Oct. 15, Minter announced the committee’s decision to gather data on policies and programs at Kentucky universities and benchmark institutions. According to the report, the committee will also look at best practices across the nation.

The Faculty Welfare and Professional Responsibilities Committee has begun a list of ideas from a survey, which looked at the best programs for active shooter training from colleges and universities around the country.

The committee will then share their ideas from the survey with the appropriate people.

Minter said the committee is working to come up with a program that will be beneficial for students, faculty and staff, but hopefully it will never need to be used.

“These types of programs work best when all members of the university are in the conversation, and this includes students, faculty and staff members,” Minter said.

The committee has not met yet, but if an active training program is implemented, it will take place at the beginning of every school year for faculty and staff, Minter said.

The student handbook, as well as WKU’s policies regarding firearms on campus, will still be relied on as protective practices in the event of a shooter.

Other Kentucky colleges already have an active shooter training program in place.

According to the University of Kentucky Police Department’s website, UK’s Police Department offers a community program to prepare students, faculty and staff to have a “survival mindset” if an active shooter incident were to occur on campus.

Eastern Kentucky University has an Emergency Action Plan. According to EKU’s Emergency Management website, their EAP is based on the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrator’s model, which is rooted in the National Incident Management System.

“The EAP is not designed to give definitive answers for every type of emergency,” according to the website. “Each incident is unique and constantly evolving.”

EKU’s EAP includes training and detailed plans on how to handle fires, severe weather, medical emergencies,  hostile intruder incidents, bomb threats, hazardous material release and seasonal or pandemic flu. The EAP was implemented in 2009 and replaced the previous Campus Emergency Response Plan.

Student Government Association President Jay Todd Richey is a student representative for the committee. He said he is looking forward to serving on the committee and being able to give students information on how to handle the unlikely but serious event of an active shooter.

“I am very concerned with the amount of school shootings in the United States recently, so I want to make sure that we as a university are prepared,” Richey said.