Goshen College, students, faculty and staff took part in an Active Shooter Response Training, led by the Goshen Police Department in the church chapel on Tuesday, March 27. The event was sponsored by Campus Safety and convocation credit was offered to all students who attended.
Since Sandy Hook, over 400 people have been shot in more than 200 school shootings, according to the New York Times. With the number of mass shootings over 150 in 2018 alone, Chad Coleman, Director of Campus Safety & Housing Operations, decided it was time to inform the campus community on what to do, should they ever find themselves in such a situation.
“I feel we are actually a little late to the game,” Coleman said. “This was something we talked about doing earlier this fall, but scheduling and timing didn't work out for it to happen. After the last shooting in Florida, I felt we couldn’t wait any longer.”
Although the possession or use of firearms is prohibited on the Goshen College campus, Coleman believes the training will be valuable no matter the setting.
“Having training like this extends far beyond our campus. In the past several years there have been movie theaters, grocery stores, and workplaces affected by active shooters,” he said. “It is our hope that the knowledge we gain from this training will serve us well, wherever we are.”
Coleman explained that a similar training for employees took place in 2012 before students arrived on campus. Online modules had also been completed by employees in the past.
Tuesday’s training educated those in attendance of the psychological changes that are likely to occur if they were to ever experience an active shooter. Matt Yoder, Goshen police officer, who led the training, explained how tunnel vision could occur and encouraged the audience to force themselves to look at their surroundings in order to break it.
Yoder stressed the three main responses of run, hide and fight, to be carried out in that order, with fighting being the last resort in order to survive.
He also stated the importance of thinking through and formulating a response plan before an incident is to occur, to know escape routes and to pay attention to building layouts.
Sophomore Alyson Prigge attended the training, “I think it was good for the students and staff for someone to come in and give some training in what we need to do,” she said. “But I think it’s sad that we even need to have training like that.”
If the campus were to be threatened with an active shooter there is already a crisis management team in place, Coleman explained.
“We have technology to notify all of campus via text, email and network computer alerts within seconds, should an incident occur,” he said. “We also have ways to enable entry control in all residential areas on campus to electronically lock all doors.”
Within academic areas, Coleman noted that there are building managers with hex keys to bar all the doors but hopes to formulate a better plan with the Goshen Police Department.
“Of course it’s also my hope that we never have to implement any of these plans,” he said.