Staying ALERRT: Campus safety take part in active shooter training

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Courtesy of Christopher Jagoe

Alyssa Mursch, News Editor

Over the course of the past few weeks, Wilkes Public Safety has been joined by other local law enforcement in participating in active shooter level II training.

The Department of Public Safety identified the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center’s to provide active shooter training to our Public Safety Officers.  The decision to partner with ALERRT was concluded after studying many models currently being taught to first responders. This training is a follow up of the active shooter training that began last year, when level I training was provided to campus officers. Level I training is a basic course that involves the fundamentals of the rapid response training, whereas level II goes more in depth, incorporating a medical component, which teaches officers to treat wounds effectively and evacuate the areas at risk safely.

In March of 2013, the FBI announced that ALERRT is the national standard through which they are training their agents.

“It speaks volumes to the level of professionalism and competence of the level of the training,” said Wilkes University Public Safety Chief Christopher Jagoe of undergoing a training that is considered the national standard.

First responders are being trained to quickly enter into harm’s way to neutralize a shooter and save the lives of innocent victims. It’s important for them to have this knowledge as, in many circumstances, formally trained medical personnel will not or cannot be on the scene immediately to provide casualty care.

First responders must be educated and trained in point-of-wounding casualty care techniques in order to save lives.

“This is another example of our commitment to campus,” Jagoe said, adding that it’s important to them to get the armed officers not only the mandated training but training that exceeds what is mandated as well, which is what this training does.

More than 85,000 law enforcement officers across the nation have been trained in ALERRT operations and tactics to respond to active shooter situations. This vital training is delivered by veteran law enforcement SWAT specialists with proven experience in active shooter response and police training.

The course curriculum includes T-ECC based Self-Aid/Buddy-Aid techniques including hemorrhage control and tourniquets, bandaging, airway management, triaging, casualty collection points and casualty evacuation methods.

The course also includes “force-on-force” mass casualty scenarios where the student will not only have to neutralize the threat but also treat the wounded, establish casualty collection points, conduct hasty triage and integrate responses with EMS/Fire personnel.

Wilkes University Department of Public Safety was also joined by Kingston Police, Wilkes-Barre Police, West Wyoming Police, Wyoming Police, Duryea Police, Exeter Township Police, Penn State Police, Plains Police, Plymouth Police, Hanover Township Police, Veterans Administration Police, Nanticoke Police, Hughestown Police, Univ.of Scranton Police and Pa. Dept. of Corrections.

“As an educational institution, we’re looking to provide training and education to first responders in the area,” Jagoe said. “This garners goodwill and also puts a face to a name.” He added that by establishing this relationship, the officers can discuss shared needs and better work together to keep the area at its safest for students and the surrounding communities.

Law enforcement weren’t the only ones present at the training, however. Jagoe also noted the attendance of Vice President of Finance and General Counsel Chip Prescott.

“It really speaks highly of our campus administration in that they’re supportive (of the work we do),” Jagoe said, adding that it was nice to see Prescott actually partaking in the training and showing first-hand his support and commitment.

Many of the classes included in the training are funded through such sources as the Bureau of Justice Assistance, VALOR or the Department of Homeland Security.

Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa, Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana and South Carolina are among the first states to train and adopt the ALERRT curriculum as their state standard in active shooter response. Other states are moving forward with this as their standard and many large cities are training all of their front line officers in ALERRT tactics and standards, such as New York City, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and San Antonio.

The Department of Public Safety will also be participating in the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) train the trainer course. Designed and built on the Avoid, Deny, Defend strategy developed by ALERRT, this training provides strategies, guidance and a proven plan for surviving an active shooter event.

Topics will include the history and prevalence of active shooter events, the role of first responders, civilian response options, medical issues and drills.

Additionally, the Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with the Wilkes University Office of Risk and Compliance Management, will continue to offer their well-received training modules on the principles of Emergency Management 101 and Protective Measures for Critical Incidents.

These courses are offered on several dates and times throughout the semester and culminate with tabletop exercises designed to challenge attendee’s emergency actions plans for responding to incidents.

With the support of President Patrick Leahy, members of the executive cabinet, departmental directors and local first responders participate in yearly drills conducted on campus to enhance our response to emergency situations.

“Working as a unit is important, especially in this line of work,” Jagoe said.