NMSU Police hosts workshop in case of school shooting

With concerns of campus safety or even any public setting being exploited in the headlines as of late, New Mexico State University Police Department wants to unsure that they can ease the thought of an event like the Parkland School Shooting and the YouTube Headquarters attack could occur on the NMSU community. The Round Up sat down with NMSU Police Chief Stephen Lopez to discuss the actions the department is taking.

“You will never be fully prepared in the event of an active killer,” Lopez stated in the Domenici Hall Auditorium.

Earlier last month, Lopez led an “Active Killer Workshop” that was open to students and faculty. The workshop came just a few weeks after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida that left 17 people dead. He explained what one should do if you are caught in a situation where there is an Active Killer on campus.

“You have three options,” Lopez stated. “Run. Hide. Or fight.”

Lopez goes on to expand the Run, Hide and Fight concept. In the event of active killer, you should run to safety. If escaping the situation isn’t an option, then you should hide in a safe place. Use your surroundings to help keep you safe, such as pushing a heavy object in front of a door to keep anyone from coming in. If all else fails, it’s time to fight.

Lopez addressed the idea that you should not “duck and cover” in the event of a gunman being present. Michelle Greene an English Professor was surprised to hear this information.

“I grew up during the Cold War,” Greene said. “All I’ve ever known was to duck and cover and to find out that is why so many people died at Virginia Tech is astonishing.”

The Virginia Tech shooting happened on April 16, 2007 and left 32 people dead. Lopez explained that when the shooting occurred many students in classrooms chose to duck and cover. As a result, the gunman felt that the students who chose to duck and cover were easy targets.

Greene was a flight attendant post nine eleven before teaching English at New Mexico State. She said that her training was vigorous and many did not continue in the flight attendant program because of the security measures that needed to be performed.

“Even with all that training, I still would not know what to do to keep my students safe,” Greene said.

Greene learned about the workshop from one of her students. Many of her students asked if they could attend the workshop that was scheduled during her class time. Do to the high amount of students asking, Greene took it upon herself to bring her class to the workshop.

Haley Salinas a Freshman studying Pre-Nursing found the workshop extremely helpful.

“My biggest fear is being in a shooting,” Salinas stated. “I want to see this workshop done again!”

Salinas found the workshop to be very informative and very interactive.

“We should make this our home [NMSU] and we should be safe in our home,” Salinas said.

“K.I.S.U.S. Keep it simple under stress,” Lopez said. “It’s a Fight or Flight instinct.”

Lopez addressed the “New Approach” on how to handle an emergency situation.

This method allows for options to be taken by the victims and allows for an even bigger chance for survival.

Lopez first conducted the workshop back in 2013 and has been developing new concepts as time goes on. He’s received great feedback and has been asked to perform the workshop again.

“We plan on doing the workshop again at the end of this month [April], we are alos booked to do it at Dona Ana County Community College and for a small presentation for the Engineering Department,” Lopez said in a sit down Interview.

Lopez is getting preparing to present the information from the workshop to the Las Cruces Public Schools’ Principals this coming week. It’s part of his first outreach that he hopes will transcend from principals, to teachers and then to students.

“I believe this is a skill to have by the time someone is 16 years old,” Lopez said.

When asked about performing the workshop at every New Student Orientation he responded that it would not be possible. Lopez wants to stress the importance of being safe on campus and to look out for one another. Do to the high feedback, the next workshop is to be held on April 16 in Thomas and Brown Hall room 104.

If you can not attend you can watch the full Active Killer Workshop from March 5, 2018 by clicking here. To watch a Run, Hide and Fight video that explains what to do in an active killer situation you can also click here.

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