Around 25 police officers and various first responders participated in an active shooter drill at Utica College. The drill is a chance for police and first responders to break down communication barriers. It also provided an opportunity for all involved to become familiar with the layout of the campus. Utica Police Chief Mark Williams explained the importance of why these drills are necessary.
"Nothing’s off limits anymore. We’ve seen now churches being attacked, so we have to look at all types of public buildings, governmental buildings that may be targets, soft targets for some of these attackers."
Police used to secure the perimeter of an active shooter site and then call for a SWAT Team. The role of the first responding officers has changed dramatically over time, and there’s a good reason why.
"In the 45 minutes that it took for the SWAT to show up and deploy, there was a lot of carnage, a lot of shootings, and a lot of people being hurt and killed in the meantime, so we had to change as law enforcement nation-wide."
This is the first time Utica College has engaged in this type of training, but Utica College President Laura Casamento tells us they have to be prepared for anything.
"Colleges and Universities as you know are not immune from acts of violence, so the more prepared we can be the better."
The police and emergency crews are now able to use the information they’ve learned here and apply it should there be an active shooter event, but the Chief leaves us with some advice for anyone who may one day find themselves involved in an active shooter situation.
"In the event of an active shooter situation, and it’s the typical flight if you can run. If you can’t run hide, and your last alternative if you’re being confronted with an active shooter and you have nowhere to go fight."