The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 19, 2013

PSU faculty, staff, students introduced to basics of being prepared for hostile intruder

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University held the first of four training sessions Tuesday to prepare for a potential hostile intruder on campus.

Each session is designed for members of the campus community as a one-hour overview of the safest ways to respond to a hostile intruder and what actions law enforcement would take when responding.

But the presenters, university emergency managers Steve Erwin and Mike McCracken, told attendees that it is also important to focus on indicators of potential workplace violence and on the university’s current efforts in threat assessment and intervention.

Erwin and McCracken serve on a multidisciplinary team that developed a set of workplace violence indicators with which to assess a level of threat when incidents are reported on campus.

“In my opinion, the most important thing we can do is look for these things ahead of time, report them, identify the threat and the risk before something bad happens,” McCracken said.

The team also has developed behavioral interventions in case someone on campus is considered a potential threat to himself or others.

“The important piece, one of the takeaways we want to have for today ... is how we as faculty, staff and students — members of the campus community — can make a difference in terms of prevention and being able to perhaps successfully intervene and prevent something before it happens,” said Erwin, who heads up campus life and auxiliary services.

He noted that nearly 18 million college students are on 4,400 campuses daily, “so the likelihood of these things happening are infinitesimal,” but statistics do show that campus shootings are happening more frequently than in previous decades.

There were at least 10 shootings on college campuses in the four years after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 in which 32 students were killed and 17 were wounded. In 2012, there were at least five shootings on or steps away from a college campus. At least three such shootings were reported fewer than three weeks into 2013.

President Barack Obama’s effort to curb school shootings in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut includes a directive calling for “model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.”

McCracken advised those in attendance to weigh their options in advance of a potential shooting on campus, from picking an escape route to choosing hiding places to considering how they might fight back.

“Think about it ahead of time,” he said. “It’s easier to plan ahead than to do it in the stress of the moment.”

Campus police have practiced intruder response at the university and have brought in tactical experts from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, McCracken said, to familiarize them with building layouts.

On March 1, a new emergency alert system is set to be deployed on campus that will be more robust than the current system. The current system, which sends text alerts to cellphones, is optional. The new system will automatically enroll everyone on campus using email accounts, home phone numbers and office phones if they have them. Users will have the option of whether to receive messages via cellphones. The system also will allow administrators to send emergency alerts to all computer screens on campus.

Associate professor Harry Humphries called the session “a good start.”

But student Austin Leake, who is vice president of Gorillas for Concealed Carry, said he saw it a different way.

“I hope it opened people’s eyes to see we’re sitting ducks for the two to three minutes it takes for police to respond during an active shooting scenario,” he said.

Upcoming

ADDITIONAL ONE-HOUR SESSIONS will be held at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in Overman Student Center; at noon Wednesday, March 6, in Room 109 of Grubbs Hall; and at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 14, in the student center. All sessions are open to faculty, staff and students.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

     moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter