ATHENS, W.Va (WOAY) – Recent events have proven that an active shooter situation can happen anywhere at any time. Because of this, Concord University Campus Police have plans in place for whatever emergency situation comes their way.
“If we get a call of an active shooter, we are sworn police officers,” Concord Police Chief Mark Stella said. “We do have the tools to handle situations like this. First off, we’re going to notify the other local law enforcement agencies so we can get them en route to our location, but we here at the University Police, we’re going to go confront that active shooter. We’re going to try to eliminate the threat as fast and efficient as we can as we got other agencies coming in. In the meantime, we train the community in this ‘Run. Hide. Fight.’ classroom-type scenario that we give and we train here. We offer courses here, so they know what to do.”
On Wednesday, Concord’s faculty had a training course with the campus police and the FBI.
“They were placed in a room and firearms were discharged which were blanks, so they could recognize and notice what gunfire sounds like in a hallway,” Chief Stella said. “That was with a shotgun, a rifle and a pistol or handgun.”
For campus police, communication is key. That is why they are one of the few schools in the state to give their RA’s and groundskeeping staff radios to let them know of any suspicious activity. That is also why when an emergency situation is confirmed, an alert will be sent out to campus and to the community as soon as possible.
“This is a problem that we have to hit head-on now because we have to prepare for this,” Chief Stella said. “It’s hard to predict random acts of violence, so we have to prepare for it.”
Chief Stella also gave some tips for the general public about what to do when faced with an active shooter situation. He said if your area is not on lockdown and you feel you can make a run for it, that’s the best possible option. If not, find a way to barricade yourself and hide. The last resort is to fight back.
“That’s where we try to train and advise these individuals to be proactive, be offensive, go towards the threat, take the threat down, swarm the threat, try to pile on top of the threat, the individual, whether it be male or female,” he said. “Get the weapon away from them. Some people may get hurt, but it’s better than standing there and doing nothing.”
The Concord Police Department does offer active shooter training for anyone interested. Their number is 304-384-5357.