More than a dozen graduate students met Monday evening to learn about procedures in the case of an active shooter.
IU Police Department Lt. Brice Teter led the discussion while Sgt. Brian Oliger observed from the back of the room and occasionally provided comment. The event was organized by the IU Graduate & Professional Student Government, specifically the Health and Wellness Committee.
"It's important for general safety as to how you respond," said Jessica Tompkins, Media School representative for GPSG. "Being prepared for that is important. It's a grim reality we face."
Teter began the presentation with a disclaimer.
"This is not intended to scare anybody," he said. "This is, unfortunately, just the world we live in."
He introduced himself to the students and asked about how many had been in house fires or tornadoes. A few raised their hands, but not many. He said he did this to illustrate just how rare active shooter situations are.
"Your chances of getting struck by lightning more than once is greater than being in an active shooter incident," Teter said.
However, he said this doesn't mean knowing what to do is unimportant. He said it was useful information for school life and everyday life outside of the classroom.
Teter opened the Protect IU website. Many of the students raised their hands when he asked if they had ever visited the site before. He would preface the rest of his speech with a video.
"You need to be prepared for the worst," a voice that sounded similar to the one used in action movie trailers said.
The dramatized video began with a bald man in sunglasses walking with a backpack into an office building with people working. Once he was inside, he pulled a shotgun out of his bag and quickly began firing at people in the lobby.
While the actors were panicking, the video endeavored to explain some procedures in the case of this event. It ran through three major points — run, hide or fight.
After each dramatized situation, the screen would show a list of tips for the given response.
"Be aware," the deep voice said at the end of the video. "Be prepared."
After the video, Teter went back to the front of the room and resumed his lecture. He said the most important thing someone can do is have a personal plan prepared in any given situation and in any place. It doesn't have to be complicated, he said.
He said to run as far as possible and not to let injured people slow one down.
"I know that's a hard concept to understand," he said. "As human beings, we want to help people, but you have to think about you."
It may mean stepping over the body of a classmate who's calling for help, he said. He said a person just needs to get out.
Teter quickly studied the room and began to show students some strategies they could use to survive a shooting incident in that room.
He said they could break the windows and climb out, lock the doors, put a belt around a part of the door to keep it closed and stand behind the wall with chairs ready to strike an intruder.
When he mentioned that students may have to attack the gunman, he said it had to be without hesitation.
"You've gotta go into that dark place no one wants to talk about to inflict as much harm as possible against this other person," Teter said. "You're only going to get one chance."
He asked if anyone in the crowd had questions about the process.
The vice president of GPSG, Blake Forland, asked how students could find out about situations if they weren't in the building or close to the area of the attack.
Teter said they would receive a phone call, a text and an email. However, the texts would be short because of character restrictions.
He said the text would read something like, "Active shooter. Wells Library. Shelter in place."
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