Campus Police Offer Workplace Violence Workshop

Mar 8, 2013

The USU police department provides many different services for the students and employees of Utah State University, but one service they offer could mean the difference between life and death in a workplace violence situation.

But, during those three minutes, that could seem like an eternity if someone is trying to shoot you.

A short film plays on the projector in a dark room on the USU campus. Employees from the university's Human Resources office sit quietly in their chairs, eyes focused on the projection screen. What  they learn from this video and the following presentation could one day save their lives.

Seargeant Travis Dunn of the USU Police Department, said "I started up here over four and a half years ago when we were doing the seminar back then. With the recent instances throughout the country there's been a need or a want for this presentation, so we're getting a lot more requests this year."

Dunn leads these workplace violence and ative shooter training presentations for the dept. in hope that the training will keep employees safe until help arrives.

"We pride ourselves as the USU police department to be a quick response, try to be there within three minutes. The movie stated that police officer response time is going to be between five and ten minutes. So just being here on campus, we're going to have a quicker response time than other agencies.

"But, during those three minutes, that could seem like an eternity if someone is trying to shoot you. So what we're trying to do is to teach, to train, to have the mindset that people can take care of this themselves, to get themselves out of the line of danger."

The presentation starts with Dunn showing a video of a real-life workplace violence scenario.

The video shows a confrontation at a Fla. school board meeting in 2010. A man wielding a firearm held members of the board at gunpoint and voiced his displeasure over his wife's recent firing from an elementary school.

The man, Clay Duke, then opened fire on the school board members.

Duke missed, hitting a stack of papers on the desk in front of the superintendent. No one was injured, but Duke was wounded by return fire from a security guard. Duke would take his own life with a gunshot to the head shortly after.

After this video is shown, Dunn puts on the short film entitled, "Shots Fired: Guidance for Surviving an Active Shooter Situation," from the Center for Personal Protection and Safety. The video presents a scenario where a gunman has entered a workplace and how employees should react in such a situation.

After the video, Dunn talks to the group. He wants them to remember three things from the film: Get out, Hide out, and take out.

"If you have an active gunman come in here, what's the first thing I want you to do? Get out. If you can get out, get out. What if we can't? Hide out. If he can't see us, he can't shoot us. So we're going to try to hide. But we don't want to trap ourselves either. He's going to come into the room now. What are we going to do? How are we going to take him out? We're going to commit ourselves.He's there for one reason, and one reason only. That's to kill us. To kill our friends. Can we let him do that? No. We've got to fight with all our might."

In addition to the three outs, Dunn offers other personal protection strategies.

"The problem at Virginia Tech, the most deadly shooting in America, what was the problem? They huddled together. Right together. He stood at the doorway, didn't even have to go into the room, and he just fired into the massive huddled. And he went to the next room, and they were doing the same thing. So he huddled. He went to the next classroom, and no one was there. They had left. So he came back to the second classroom. So the people on the back end that didn't get hit were starting to move again. So guess what he did. He shot them again. So spread out. Have a plan.

"A lot of girls here say, 'Well, a guy is going to come in, I'll just kick him where it hurts. He'll drop like a rock.' I can tell you this right now girls, guys from the age this tall, have learned to protect themselves, that area."

To learn more about workplace violence active shooter situations, offices and organizations can sign up for the presentation by calling the USU Police Dept. at 435-797-1939
 

Eric is from Las Vegas, Nevada and studies broadcast journalism at Utah State. In joining the Utah Public Radio family, he has now delved into each of the "Big Three" of journalism: print, television and radio. His dream is to someday live and report the news in Chicago, Illinois (or wherever his career takes him.) In addition to reporting for UPR, Eric is the copy editor at the Utah Statesman and contributes to Aggie TV News.