BY JON PRICE
Representatives of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department teamed up with the administration at Washtenaw Community College to present a “personal survival training plan” in the event that a live shooter were on campus.
On Wednesday, 15 year veteran of the WCSD, Sgt. Keith Flores, along with Deputy Jess Spike, gave a two hour training session to students and staff on the most current safety practices and survival tips if the unimaginable were to take place.
“The person who does this is very committed, you have to be equally committed, committed to survive,” Spike told the room of about 20, most of whom were students or employees at WCC.
The presentation presented students and employees with critical information on how to conduct themselves in the event of a school shooting. While it seems improbable that one might be faced with this scenario, Flores said that of the 52 recorded mass shootings in 2015, 21 were in college or university settings.
“Is it happening more, or are we just hearing about it more?” Flores asked rhetorically. “My answer, both.”
Officers advised students on how to barricade doors and the best means of communicating with emergency services if a shooter were to enter a campus building. The presentation, a slide show accompanied by some rather graphic video footage, was followed by students and staff participating in a simulated live shooter scenario.
While some found the experience, which involved training guns that mimicked the sound of actual gunfire, jarring, most participants said they left the seminar feeling more prepared if gun violence were to erupt at WCC.
“I think it was well run,” Zach Baker said. “It makes me want to encourage more students to make the campus safer.”
Baker, a 36-year-old Ypsilanti resident and an employee at WCC, said he realizes it’s not something people care to think about but ultimately feels the training is a necessity.
“It sucks we have to prepare for this,” Baker said. “But, it also sucks to change a tire without a jack or stand, but you have to do what you have to do.”
“Our job is to get you thinking,” Flores said, noting that there is no protocol that is applicable to every violent situation. “(The shooters) are practicing, you should be too.”
Those who are interested in learning more about what to do in the event of school or workplace violence may contact the WCSD at (734) 971-8400.