University Police prepares BYU students against active shooters

Lt. Arnold Lemmon speaking to students about active shooters (Brynn Dew).
Lt. Arnold Lemmon speaking to students about active shooters (Brynn Dew).

University police held a question and answer forum to inform students on how to handle active shooters in a campus setting.

Lt. Arnold Lemmon has been a campus officer for 37 years and has never had an active shooter on campus. Lemmon hoped that the forum would help students in the future if they ever encounter an active shooter.

“Even if one person is better prepared, that makes a difference,” Lemmon said.

Daniel Goldberg, a junior from San Jose, California, said it’s important to learn about handling an active shooter situation.

“Campus is already pretty safe,” Goldberg said. “But it’s important to learn and prepare yourself in case it happens.”

Lemmon informed students the most important way to be prepared in an active shooter situation is to always have a survival mindset.

“Have an active mindset,” Lemmon said. “Tell yourself no matter what happens you are going to survive. Do everything and anything to survive.”

Students learned steps to handle a situation in order to maintain a survival mindset. These techniques, developed by numerous police officers nationwide, gave helpful ways called “outs” for people to prepare themselves against an active shooter.

The “outs” for an active shooter situation are:

  • Figure out: Figure out what exactly is happening. Think about what the best course of action is in order for you to survive.
  • Get out: Get out of the situation as fast and as safely as possible. Do not wait for others to validate the situation. Leave belongings behind.
  • Call out: Call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Inform the authorities about location of the shooter, description of the shooter, type of weapon and how many weapons there are. Make sure you are not alerting the shooter and putting yourself in more danger from calling the police. Do not call authorities to get news of what is happening. According to Lemmon, the phone lines get tied up, which could prevent police from getting key information about the situation.
  • Hide out: Conceal yourself to the best of your ability. Try to avoid places that could trap or restrict your movement in case you have an opportunity to get out or attack the shooter. Make sure the hiding place is also well-protected from the shooter.
  • Keep out: Do everything to keep the shooter out of the room. Be creative in the techniques you can use to keep the shooter from getting in. Lemmon talked about how students at Virginia Tech did everything they could to barricade a shooter from entering a classroom full of students.
  • Spread out: Do not huddle together, which according to Lemmon, is very common in active shooting situations. Make it harder for the shooter by making him aim at targets.
  • Take out: Assume that the shooter intends to kill and will continue to kill others unless you stop them. Do whatever it takes for you to survive. Come up with a plan that will allow you to survive.

Rebecca Heninger, a junior, said she will take what she learned and be able to apply it if the situation arises.

“Having an overall active mindset is important,” Heninger said. “Don’t be passive.”

Lemmon’s overall message and point was students can prepare themselves just by asking what-if questions and educating themselves on how to handle active shooter situations.

“Develop a survival mindset,” said Lemmon. ” Be a survivor, not a victim.”

For more information on how to handle active shooters, watch “Shots Fired” created by BYU Police to further educate students.

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