LV Life Editor
Officers Marc Gutierrez and Eric Eisen from the La Verne Police Department hosted a presentation on how to prepare for an active shooter on campus Wednesday in LaFetra Auditorium. Roughly 50 people attended.
Gutierrez mentioned the shootings in Las Vegas and San Bernardino, reminding the audience how close to home these traumatic events have been.
He shared a graphic video called “Surviving an Active Shooter,” created by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, found at activeshooter.lasd.org.
“Sometimes I give a disclaimer that you might see some blood and guts in this video, but sometimes the purpose is, if something were to happen here ask yourself are you prepared for it,” Gutierrez said. “If someone walked in here right now and started shooting–in fact if we (the officers) got shot and could not defend you guys, have you prepared yourself mentally?”
Gutierrez said people must prepare mentally and physically for an active shooter situation to be capable of dealing with it.
The U.S. Department of Justice states three possible options to deal with an active shooter: run, hide and fight.
The Justice Department says it is important to have an escape route and plan in mind, hide in an area out of the shooter’s view and to fight as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
Gutierrez said once people have barricaded themselves in a room to not peek outside and to instead keep quiet and come up with multiple plans in case the shooter enters the room.
“Do whatever you can to lock the doors to make whoever is outside that you do not want coming in to think nobody is there,” Gutierrez said. “Barricade doors, turn off lights, turn cell phones on silent and cover windows. If someone is hurt do not be afraid to help them keep quiet and calm.”
“If you guys are hiding do not worry about what is going outside,” Gutierrez said. “Your job is to keep yourself safe and the next people you will be communicating with is going to be the police. You just need to wait for them to get there and be patient.”
Call 911 once you are in a safe location and provide any information you have like the number of shooters, physical description of shooter and number of weapons they are carrying.
Carrie Lewis-Hasse, assistant dean of advising and retention services, expressed serious concerns about the Enrollment Building she works in on First and E streets.
The building has an open loading dock and basement area making it accessible for a potential criminal to hide, she said.
“We can go back and talk with each other about strategic plans, but we are amateurs at this,” Lewis-Hasse said. “We are not trained on this.”
Hasse asked if LVPD and Campus Safety will plan a walk through individual buildings on campus and offer advice on what to do if someone were to enter the building.
Loretta Rahmani, chief student affairs officer, said it is important for employees and faculty to go back to their work sites and have a well thought out plan.
“Every little situation is going to be a little different, but we need to have that talk now,” Rahmani said. “God forbid something happens, you can go and respond to the nuisance, but if you do not take that time now to talk about it then there will be more chaos in our minds.”
Rahmani told people to never hesitate to call Campus Safety if they feel uncomfortable. She said she calls Campus Safety to escort her to her car when she leaves her office at night.
“I never hesitate,” Rahmani said. “They will gladly escort you to wherever you need to be.”
The Justice Department states every active shooter event is unpredictable and evolves quickly, but knowing what to do can save lives.
Layla Abbas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.