Police discuss response to potential active shooter situations

Emma Collins

The recent school shootings across the United States have increased the need for safety plans and awareness on campuses; Georgia Southern University Public Safety assures students it is prepared in case of possible threats.

Should an active shooter ever present himself on GSU’s campus, plans are in place and local law enforcement has been trained for these types of situations, GSU Police Chief Michael Russell said.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a lone gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire.

This tragedy was so horrific because the majority of the victims were children, Georgia Southern University Criminal Justice and Criminology Assistant Professor Laura Agnich said.

“These were six-year old kids full of youth and innocence. Just innocent little kids,” Agnich said.

Shootings like this, though devastating, are not common occurrences, Agnich said.

“Thankfully, these events are rare, and that is good. We learn a lot about our vulnerability from them,” Agnich said.

Both GSU and Statesboro Police have been trained to deal with a tragedy such as a shooting, Justin Samples, community relations officer for the Statesboro Police Department, said.

“We had a federal agency come in and train us for this type of situation so we would have a definite response if something like this ever happens. While we have a definite response plan, though, the plan would vary depending on the situation,” Samples said.

In the unlikely event of an active shooter on campus, all local law enforcement would work together, Russell said.

“Every active shooter is different, but every law enforcement officer within radio-shot would respond to help,” Samples said.

“Plan, Prepare, and React,” a video, was authorized and created by the Board of Regents to teach students and faculty how to respond in active shooter situations, Russell said.

“Basically, you have to do whatever you have to do to survive the day. If you have to run, hide, barricade a door—whatever it takes,” Russell said.

Russell encouraged students to take advantage of the “Plan, Prepare, and React” video, which is available for viewing to classes, student organizations, faculty, sororities and fraternities, or any group who wants to watch it.

Russell urges students to contact him in regarding the opportuni