North­west­ern cre­ates ac­tive vi­o­lence train­ing video

Graph­i­cally sim­u­lates shooter on cam­pus

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAND - By Dawn Rhodes drhodes@chicagotri­bune.com Twit­ter @rhodes_­dawn

North­west­ern Univer­sity is in­tro­duc­ing a chill­ing new video this fall to help pre­pare stu­dents, staff and fac­ulty on how to re­spond to a sit­u­a­tion of ac­tive vi­o­lence.

The eight-minute video graph­i­cally sim­u­lates a shooter on the Evanston cam­pus, then por­trays stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff mod­el­ing por­tions of the “Run, Hide, Fight” re­sponse de­pend­ing on their lo­ca­tion.

“Run, Hide, Fight” is a pro­to­col rec­om­mended by the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity.

The video was pro­duced over the sum­mer but comes in the wake of two high-pro­file mass shoot­ings in less than two weeks: the killing of 11 peo­ple at a Pitts­burgh syn­a­gogue and the killing of 12 peo­ple at a bar in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

Though the video demon­strates an ac­tive shooter, North­west­ern of­fi­cials note an ag­gres­sor could also use a dif­fer­ent type of weapon or a car in an ac­tive at­tack.

The sim­u­la­tion por­trays a young man pulling a hand­gun out of the waist­band of his jeans and quickly shoot­ing two peo­ple near the Jacobs Cen­ter. One young woman in­structs view­ers not to hes­i­tate when hear­ing gun­shots, to run away if it seems safe to do so and to call 911 upon reach­ing safety. The woman also ad­vises view­ers to give as much spe­cific in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble to a dis­patcher, in­clud­ing an ex­act lo­ca­tion and a de­scrip­tion of the at­tacker.

Part of the mes­sag­ing, North­west­ern of­fi­cials say, is to elim­i­nate the mind­set that such vi­o­lence could not oc­cur within the cam­pus and com­mu­nity. It is im­per­a­tive that stu­dents, staff and fac­ulty are pre­pared to re­act quickly and smartly were such a sit­u­a­tion to un­fold.

“Even with our safe­guards in place, know­ing how to re­spond can make all the dif­fer­ence,” said Bruce Lewis, North­west­ern chief of po­lice and as­so­ciate vice pres­i­dent of safety and se­cu­rity. “Pre­par­ing for an emer­gency be­fore one oc­curs makes you much more likely to be able to re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately if such an event hap­pens. It is im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion to where you are and think through what you could do if a threat ap­pears.”

The univer­sity’s emer­gency man­age­ment depart­ment is hold­ing sev­eral brief­ings on the video this fall.

Shoot­ings and sim­i­lar vi­o­lent crime are rare at North­west­ern, though the cam­pus ex­pe­ri­enced a scare in March when it was tar­geted in a swat­ting hoax. A false re­port of a shoot­ing at a res­i­dence hall sent scores of emer­gency per­son­nel to cam­pus that af­ter­noon and trig­gered a lock­down for about two hours.

NORTH­WEST­ERN UNIVER­SITY

In a screen­shot of the video re­leased by North­west­ern Univer­sity, a man play­ing an em­ployee, right, pre­pares for a man play­ing the ac­tive shooter.

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