By ARIEL C. EMBERTON, student writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY. — Campbellsville University will be participating in an exercise designed to test her procedures during an active shooter event, according to Kyle Davis, director of campus safety and security.
On April 27, at about 10 a.m., a full-scale active shooter exercise will occur on campus.
The exercise is one of many steps administrative leaders at Campbellsville University have taken to ensure safety on campus for students.
This event will not endanger any student, faculty or staff at the university, but it is meant to be taken seriously and will be handled like a real, on-campus shooting, Davis said.
A Campbellsville University planning committee has been put together to coordinate the event. Members have been working with the emergency responder planning committee, which includes emergency response leaders from across Taylor County.
According to the exercise plan, the purpose of the exercise is to “enhance Campbellsville University’s preparedness and safety by testing police and local emergency medical services’ ability to respond and recover from an active shooter scenario.”
Davis is the chair of the planning committee and has been overseeing the organizing of the event for several weeks. He has been working with Pat Thompson, chief of police for Campbellsville, and other emergency responders to coordinate the event.
The active shooter scenario will take place at the Gosser Fine Arts Center in The Gheens Recital Hall, on the edge of CU’s campus. It is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and end at about 10:45 a.m.
During the scenario, 12 volunteer students will engage the shooter. Some of the students, as actors, Davis said, could possibly be injured and killed, just like in a real-life scenario.
Once the “shooter” has entered the building, Davis said 911 will be called by a student inside the facility. When the 911 dispatch receives this call, the police and EMS will respond as if it were a real shooting. Police will enter the building and take down the shooter once he or she has been located.
According to Davis, before entering the building, all police personnel will be checked to ensure that no real weapons are taken into the building with live ammunition.
Taylor County Regional Hospital will be conducting an exercise to go along with the mock shooting at the university. Student volunteers from CU’s Bennett-Smith School of Nursing will be staged at the hospital to act as incoming victims. This will allow the students to take part in a real-life trauma exercise and will provide a hands-on learning experience.
Campbellsville’s Police Department will play a role in the shooting exercise, but they will not be the only force involved. If this were a real-life shooting, according to Thompson, every police force within the limits of Taylor County, and Kentucky State Police, would be called in to assist with the situation.
By doing this exercise, Thompson is “hoping to get an insight about the layout of the university.” She said this insight will allow the police department to determine how to safely enter a building and determine what they would need to do to apprehend the shooter in a real situation.
On the day of the event, University Drive will be blocked off between North Columbia Avenue beside the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church and North Central Avenue at the traffic light.
The parking lot located in front of the main entrance to The Gheens Recital Hall will be used as a staging area for observers. The parking lot located to the rear of the recital hall will be blocked off, as will the parking lot beside the art building and The Pence-Chowning Art Gallery.
Following the mock shooting, Davis said, there will be a series of debriefing meetings to talk about what worked, what didn’t work and what can be improved. Included in these meetings will be APB Consulting Solutions of Lexington. This is the company that has been hired by the university to look at the campus and provide ways to improve security.
According to Otto Tennant, vice president for finance and administration, the consulting company will use the mock shooting scenario to look at weak spots within the university’s security and provide ways to improve those weaknesses.
Davis said students need to know that this is only a drill, but it is to be taken very seriously.
Once Davis is notified by the police that an active shooter is on campus, alerts will be sent out via CU text and email notifications. Students are to follow protocol just like they would if this were a real emergency.