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OUPD offers active-shooter response training to public

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“Students Win Against Raving Maniac.”

That’s the meaning Ohio University Police Department’s Brian Kapple and Kevin Frith have assigned to the “SWARM” tactic taught to students faced against an active shooter.

The acronym preceded a chuckle, but the tone for the rest of OUPD’s ALiCE training session on Monday was somber, and with one goal: teaching students how not to feel helpless.

ALiCE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. OUPD has taught the session to various groups throughout the Athens community for five years, but Monday’s training was the first one ever open to the public. The second will take place February 27.

Captain Kapple emphasized that police are only one component to reacting against an active shooter in a way that saves lives, and it is just as important for other community members to know how to respond.

“It’s okay to fight back,” Kapple said. “It’s okay to use your eyes, your ears, your perception.”

Kapple explained that gunmen have less than a 50 percent hit rate when shooting at still targets. When those targets know that they’re better off running, the hit rate declines.

Civilians who plan ahead to make informed choices see their reaction time drop from five seconds to two, Kapple explained. Those three precious seconds can save lives.

“I’ve got a daughter who’s nine,” he said. “She’s not fighting back. I have to rely on those teachers to fight back.”

Police Chief Andrew Powers clarified that the ALiCE training is offered in the context of mass shootings in recent months, and not as a response to the armed robbery on Station Street January 30. No shots were fired in that incident.

In the past, Kapple’s PowerPoint presentation featured a slide for every school shooting. But to date, there have been 33 since Columbine. That’s just too many slides.

“We just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.

The two-hour long session also included several training videos that teach specific survival tactics. The SWARM strategy involves students throwing items and rushing at the shooter as he enters a room to distract and disarm him.

Powers said it’s necessary to “recalibrate expectations” of how an entire campus can react to a staged attack. Total lockdown is not much of an option, as it may be at a high school with a much smaller population.

“You need to think of Ohio University as more of a city,” Powers said.

OUPD’s prep includes internal training standards, development of safety plans that are site specific and joint training with the city of Athens. They have already offered ALiCE training sessions to groups such as Residence Assistants, and encourage others to contact the department if interested. An “Active Shooter Information” page is also available on their website.

“We want to reach as many people as we can,” Powers said. “I think it’s important enough that I’m willing to dedicate the resources if interest is there.”

The second training will take place Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Baker Theater. The event is free.

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  1. DProcter

    February 27, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    In response to the recent events, I would like to introduce to you our new certification program for schools and hospitals. We offer a Deadly Crisis Management
    (DCM) Facility/Organizational certification in response to the Active Shooter threat.
    With our program we offer liability protection by ensuring that all staff/employees have received our DCM training, from your own instructors, and have a plan in case the unthinkable act from an active shooter or another harmful act by a hostile person should arise.

    Please visit our website at http://www.crisisms.com for more information. ([email protected])

    “Prevent, Plan, & Practice…Practice to get better, get better to survive.”



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