Active shooter presentation addresses protocol mistakes

By Paige Phillips and Kylie Fields

Following the Sept. 18 incident involving a gunshot in Compass Point, concerned members of the Armstrong community filled the Ogeechee theater eager to have their questions answered at SGA and the Police Department’s Active Shooter Presentation.

At the Sept. 24 presentation, Armstrong president, Dr. Linda Bleicken, and Police Chief, Wayne Willcox, began by stressing the importance of the community to report any suspicious activity on campus.

Chief Willcox said, “It’s not a 15-officer job to make the campus safe. It’s the 7,000 plus eyes and ears looking around making sure that the entire community is safe.”

Although no one was injured in last week’s incident, many students were left confused by conflicting messages sent out via BLAST. Chief Willcox acknowledged that faults were found in Armstrong’s Crisis Communication Plan.

The chief explained that the event happened at a time when he felt the campus was most secure. At 3 a.m. all buildings are locked and most students are inside their dorms, which made it safer for students while officers searched the campus.

The first BLAST message alerted students to leave their building if it was safe to do so, but Willcox said that this was a template sent in error. The message students received at 4:24 a.m. was meant to be used during a daylight emergency.

A video was featured during the presentation with suggestions for students and faculty in the event of an incident involving an active shooter. Some tips included contacting campus police first, getting to a safe location as quickly as possible, and locking all doors. It was also noted in the presentation that devices have been ordered for non-locking doors on Armstrong’s campus.

Chief Willcox stressed the importance of downloading the Pirate Guardian app, which is free for both Apple and Android devices. Those interested can visit the Police Department section of the Armstrong website for links and instructions.