NORMAL — Once more details are known about the shooting on Friday that claimed the lives of two people in a Central Michigan University residence hall, officials at Illinois State University will review their own emergency plans to see if changes are needed.
“There's alway room to improve,” said ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff.
The two people shot to death at the Michigan school, about 150 miles northwest of Detroit, were not students. Police described it as “a domestic situation.”
Woodruff said when an incident occurs like it, or the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school, he and ISU emergency manager Eric Hodges "look at what other institutions have done. The communication is something we always look at."
Central Michigan University sent out an alert at 9:30 a.m. local time and placed the campus on lockdown.
ISU has an emergency alert system that sends messages in the event of an incident such as active shooter, tornado or hazardous materials incident. The emergency alerts are delivered in several ways, including posts on the ISU website, emails and texts.
Although the emails automatically go to anyone with an ISU email account, people need to sign up and provide their cellphone number for the text alerts.
Woodruff said a relatively small percentage of students sign up and he wishes more would do so. Information is available at https://security.illinoisstate.edu/emergency_alert/
A test of ISU's emergency alert system is planned for Wednesday. Woodruff said it was scheduled before the recent shootings.
Woodruff and Hodges provide a one-hour overview of emergency response at the request of campus departments. Woodruff also provides an hourlong violence prevention program. Both training sessions provide an overview of the “run, hide, fight” approach to an active shooter situation.
A hands-on “run, hide, fight” training session, lasting about three hours, was provided to faculty, staff and students in the ISU lab schools last fall. Woodruff said he hopes to do another session this fall.
He recommended a video recently produced by California State University that gives a summary of the “run, hide, fight” approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ5n1Xyumh8
After the Florida high school shooting, Illinois State University President Larry Dietz posted a message on his Facebook page that also was emailed to students, faculty and staff, that outlined some of the safety and security measures in place.
In the message, Dietz said, “Those incidents remind us, once again, that campus safety and preparedness is a vital community effort” and repeated the national slogan, “If you see something, say something.”
Emergency plans are tested throughout the year. “These drills and exercises involve personnel from many offices across campus. As well as local law enforcement, fire service and other emergency response agencies,” said Dietz.
A large-scale drill in 2015 that used former residence halls scheduled for demolition involved more than 250 people.