Central Wyoming College has been going through active shooter training known as ALICE; alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate. Led by campus safety officers Dave Hockett and Chuck Carr, this training teaches individuals to participate in their own survival and safety during the event of an active shooter or violent intruder. More than 80 people have gone through the training since Jan. 8. Carr’s goal is to have all employees, student resident assistants and other students go through the training.
During the event of an active shooter an average casualty rate is one for every 15 seconds with 64 percent of all active shooter events lasting about six minutes. That time is expanded to about 12 minutes on college and university campuses.
“I wanted this training because it empowers staff and students to do what they think is best, not what is mandated like a traditional lockdown,” Carr said. “I feel this training is going to make our campus much safer in the event that we do have a violent intruder situation.”
Carr’s first experience with active shooter/violent intruder within the schools system was when Hockett, chief of the Lander Police Department at the time, assigned Carr to Lander Valley High School as the School District #1 resource officer which at the time followed the traditional lockdown procedures practiced in schools nationwide.
“Part of my duties was to learn about school safety and run active shooter drills within the district,” Carr said. “Traditional lockdowns were with a red or green card where lockdown was started and all teachers/employees went into their work areas and locked the doors. If everyone was safe they slid a green card under the door, if someone was injured or needed attention they slid a red card under the door.”
Although school shootings are not new to history, the mass shooting at Columbine High School resulted in police agencies changing their emergency response procedures.
“Columbine changed everything, no one had seen anything like that at that magnitude,” Carr said.
The Columbine shooting, which happened in 1999, was the start of finding better methods of training to schools and businesses nationwide.
In 2009, local Fremont County safety resource officers attended the National School Resource Officer Conference in Baltimore where they watched an ALICE presentation by founder Greg Crane.
“A fellow SRO, Cody Myers and I looked at each other and knew right then that we needed to bring this to the schools in Fremont County,” Carr said.
The following year the two watched Crane present to NASRO in Louisville Kentucky and were sure that this training would be imperative to schools in Fremont County and Wyoming. After Crane was invited to CWC as the keynote speaker for the Wyoming School Resource Officer Conference the ALICE trainings began to be scheduled in Wyoming.
“Knowing that the first few minutes of an active shooter event is usually the most violent, it is imperative that our students and staff know how to react in that critical time frame from the start of a violent event until the police can arrive,” Hockett said.
ALICE training is unique to each business, school or company that adopts the training. Each has the ability to learn and use the resources they have and customize to buildings, classrooms and more.
“You use what you have in your facility, each school or campus has different resources,” Carr said. For example some schools have surveillance cameras which can be utilized to inform everyone where the active shooter is located by using an intercom system, Carr said.
“I thought the training was exceptional,” said Scott McFarland, director of financial aid. “Chuck, Dave and John Kemp clearly put a lot of effort into this training and it is extremely reassuring to not only be more prepared but to know that your survival percentage drastically increases when you and your co-workers fight together to overcome the shooter. It brings comfort to the workplace.”