With recent shootings on school campuses in Baltimore, one has to wonder what protocol UC Davis has in case of an incident similar to the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre or the recent Colorado movie theater shooting.
According to Andy Fell of the UC Davis News Service, the school has hosted active shooter training classes for the campus community.
“It’s about training people in the best responses they can have to the situation,” Fell said.
Fell said there is information on 90-minute active shooter presentations available for faculty, students and staff. These sessions have been offered to the UC Davis community since 2007.
Mary Macias, safety officer for UC Davis Health Services, has helped run the Active Workshops on campus for the past three years, in conjunction with the UC Davis Police. She said they hold one or two a year. They also offer departments the opportunity to have private survival presentations.
“They give campus information and provide tools they can put in their toolboxes in case there is a shooting situation,” she said. “The role playing we incorporate helps gauge their reaction to see how they would respond.”
In 2009, the UC Davis Police Department held a full-scale drill to test reaction to an active shooter scenario, which Fell said included over 100 volunteers in a building on campus. The “Gallant Eagle” exercise brought local fire departments, Sacramento police agencies, groups from the San Francisco Bay Area and other colleges to UC Davis.
As part of the exercise, some people were placed throughout the building to act as theatrical shooting victims and were dressed up in costume makeup. Volunteers held fake lectures to give more of a real feel. The Yolo County Bomb Squad also detonated an explosive in a car close to campus to make the situation seem more dire.
Macias, who helped organize volunteers for the event, said it was nice eye opener to this type of situation in real time and also showed the campus its own capabilities.
Here is a UC Davis NewsWatch video and transcript on how to deal with a campus shooting from April of 2011. Current UC Davis Police Matthew Carmichael was a lieutenant at the time and planned and supervised the full-scale exercise, as well as created the Active Shooter program.
“We’re presenting an option,” Carmichael told UC Davis NewsWatch. “If I am stuck in front of an active shooter, I have two choices - fight or die. So my option is to fight, and we want to show our community that they do have options and that they can fight, and this is what it would look like with a little practice.”
Macias said the next campuswide Active Shooter Survival Workshop will be held in late September to coincide with students returning to school.