Wayne State University launching nation's first online training curriculum for civilian response in an "active shooter" emergency

September 21, 2009

The Wayne State University Police Department (WSUPD), in collaboration with the Wayne State Department of Organization and Employee Development, within the Division of Human Resources, is launching an online educational curriculum that teaches civilians -- including students, faculty and staff -- how to react in an active shooter emergency. The need for online crisis training has manifested itself as "active shooter" massacres continue nationwide, even in the aftermath of the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University tragedies that resulted in 48 deaths and 46 wounded.

The one-hour "Be Prepared: Surviving an Active Shooter Incident" training program is offered to WSU students and employees through Blackboard, the university's Web-based learning management system . There are six learning modules: Defining Active Shooter; Surviving An Active Shooter Incident; Calling/Reporting an Active Shooter Incident; Helping the Injured; and Police Response: What to Expect.

Participants learn key coping skills on subjects that include:

• Choices you must make during a shooter situation
• Surviving a shooting by choosing cover and areas of concealment
• How to report an incident in progress to police
• Basic first aid for bleeding
• Evacuation of buildings and locations
• Dealing with the shooter during a close encounter

Although the "Active Shooter on Campus" curriculum is geared to a college campus audience, the course has the potential to be easily adapted for a wide range of users such as government agencies and municipalities, public schools, and private companies.

According to Anthony Holt, Wayne State's chief of police, the university's online training will enable its civilian campus community to avoid making common mistakes in an active shooter crisis. "With a population of more than 40,000 students, faculty and staff, Wayne State is an open campus in the city of Detroit on a major transportation line," he said. "We embrace our surrounding community as key to our vibrant cultural and intellectual identity. Rather than close our doors to prevent potential tragedy, Wayne State has chosen to create a national model for training civilians in appropriate response techniques to enhance campus safety and security."

Since the Virginia Tech massacre, Wayne State has made security a top priority. The university has invested substantially in technology and more than 3,000 hours of tactical police training to prevent tragedy. Recent measures include the construction of a state-of-the-art police headquarters, a full-scale "Virginia-Tech" training simulation, Detroit Police Department Special Response Team training for all campus police, cell phone text messaging and Web-based crisis communications.

"Wayne State's developed this educational curriculum for the benefit of college campuses nationwide," Holt added. "We are hopeful that this proactive approach will save lives."

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.