GV Outlines Threat Response Tactics After Summer Of New Gun Violence Debate – Grand Valley Lanthorn

After a summer of renewed debate about how to address the epidemic of gun violence in the United States, Grand Valley State University continues to update active-fire protocols and develop new tactics in the wake of tragedies in cities like Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

Reassessment of GVSU’s active shooter response occurred after the Columbine High School shootings in the early 2000s, but the program continues to be updated as more schools experience gun violence and that security is able to learn from the shortcomings of others.

The initial active shooter protocol for police was to isolate the incident before acting, or even to wait for specially trained people to arrive and eliminate the threat. However, this course of action often results in wasted waiting time while victims are trapped in dangerous situations.

In light of this, GVSU has since shifted to more active response plans, focusing on ways to respond quickly to the threat and eliminate further potential injury.

As the Texas Tribune reported, the police response to the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May this year caused major controversy when first responders waited an additional 73 minutes upon arrival. at the scene to rescue the trapped children. with the shooter.

Shootings like Uvalde’s led to the development of new protocol in GVSU’s own response to hostile intruders – what the Grand Valley Police Department has titled the Rescue Task Force.

GVPD Captain Jeffery Stoll says the university has collectively implemented a robust system to prevent reaching a point of violence, implying that engagement with the threat is only the tip of the line. iceberg.

“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to circumvent or mitigate as much as possible before an event actually happens,” Stoll said. “We do a lot of intensive training. Our own department organizes active violence training twice a year, which is well above average. »

GVPD’s active fire strategy includes four tranches at each point of threat to the campus community: Care Team, Threat Assessment Team, Contact Team, and Rescue Task Force.

The care team is made up of people from the police department, housing, students, support offices, counsellors, disability support resources and other groups on campus depending on the needs of the situation.

Along with the Care Team, the Threat Assessment Team focuses on identifying and mitigating any potential threats and taking appropriate action to manage any aggressive or threatening behavior.

These are the factors that contribute to the prevention of a situation of violence. The goal is to help members of the GVSU community who are in need before the disease reaches a dangerous place for others.

“It’s always hard to predict what the future holds and what might have been,” Stoll said. “But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that the interactions we’ve had have prevented further concerns or further incidents.”

The contact team is a progressive engagement team that takes action once a hostile individual has created an abusive situation. As soon as officers arrive on the scene, they identify the contact team and enter and attempt to deal with the threat as quickly as possible to eliminate further injuries and loss of life.

The Rescue Task Force, whose development has been a countywide priority, is responsible for ensuring that those injured in the incident can be managed and treated.

Capt. Stoll says the rescue task force can take advantage of the large response to these types of emergencies and use the additional personnel to help rescue and free victims.

“We can use these second line officers to help our medical responders and firefighters get them safely to the scene, so they are protected by police, but they can start treatment and transport of the injured. ,” Stoll said. “They get to the hospital in minutes rather than hours, and that’s a very big difference in recovery from minor injuries to serious injuries.”

There have been no instances of gun violence on the GVSU campus, but students and faculty have remained prepared with the help of university programs should such violence occur.

GVPD endorses the “Run, Hide, Fight” system, teaching that the best response for people in an active shooter situation is to distance themselves from the threat, find a safe space to hide, barricade and fight only as a last resort.

Gabbi Munson, a sophomore at GVSU, said she was confident in GVSU’s campus policies, but the higher frequency of gun violence has become terrifying.

“I feel like from an early age we are taught what to do in an intruder situation, which is both a good thing because we are prepared but also a bad thing because it shouldn’t never get to the point where we have to be prepared,” Munson said. “I think it’s very scary what people are capable of.”

The emergence of gun violence and its frequency have led those affected to push for new gun laws and regulations.

Munson says her own experience led her to believe that Michigan’s gun laws are fair, but not enough to outright prevent gun violence.

“Passing a background check doesn’t stop people from getting (weapons) for others, even though it’s illegal to do so,” Munson said. “No law can ever stop this because people are going to do what they do no matter what the law may say.”

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