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UPD Active Shooter Training In High Demand

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The University of Florida Police Department’s active shooter training has spiked in popularity in the wake of recent school shootings.

“We typically teach the active shooter training one or two times a week, maybe. Now I have six presentations in the next two days,” said Capt. Jeff Holcomb.

Capt. Holcomb teaches active shooter training to the UF computing help desk Monday evening. The presentation is usually given to faculty and staff, but as demand increases, it has become more popular for students to attend, Holcomb said. (Caroline Strogis/WUFT News)

Holcomb said the presentations have the most demand since the program started in 2007. The purpose is to develop a personal plan and be able to make an educated decision if there were an active shooter.

“It’s not like a fire drill, where there is one correct way to handle it,” Holcomb said, “Every case is different and the right thing to do will be different.”

On March 15, in a Faculty Senate meeting, UPD Deputy Chief Darren Baxley explained plans to expand the availability of the training to meet the rising demands.

Baxley said departments and colleges not only can request to have the active shooter training, but also a security assessment of their building to learn how these situations can best be handled in specific settings.

The College of Health and Human Performance met Monday for active shooter training. Daniel Connaughton, professor and associate dean of the College, said it was important to him to expose his faculty to this type of training.

“In the unlikelihood of this happening, we still want to encourage our faculty and staff to come out to this training and be as prepared as they can, to put themselves in the best position,” Connaughton said.

On average, 11.4 active shootings occur annually — almost once a month, Holcomb said. Of those, seventy percent happen in a business or educational facility. UF falls under both of those categories.

Woowon Choi, a UF senior in the College of Health and Human Performance was glad to hear his professors were going through the active shooter training.

“It’s terrible that we have to go through extreme measures, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Choi said. “I know it can be a sensitive subject, but safety is important.”

Most of the time the presentations are done for faculty and staff, but Holcomb also met with the students who work at the UF computing help desk Monday morning.

More active shooter resources including a safety message video and active shooter checklist can be found online at the UPD website. UPD also suggests that students download the GatorSafe app where they can have those resources in the palm of their hand.

About Caroline Strogis

Caroline is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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