No matter how safe a college campus is, there is always the possibility of an active shooter attacking. The best thing to do is be as prepared for a situation as possible and that is exactly what the campus police at Northeastern State University are doing through the teaching of ALICE.
The acronym ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. It is not meant to be done in a sequential order, but instead to be used dynamically in each unique situation. ALICE training addresses each component in detail through hands-on instruction of all five components.
“It’s a lockdown on steroids,” said NSU Police Capt. James Bell. “But the lockdown is just the beginning – and we teach that. We also teach students what we need from them, what they get from us, confronting an active shooter and ultimately evacuating the situation. ALICE teaches them the safest way to do all of these things.”
Most violent intruder situations last between five and seven minutes. Typically, first responders take longer than that to enter a compromised building. Research has shown that civilians have stopped active shooter events twice as many times as police intervention simply because they were already there.
Bell advised that NSU has someone ready to teach ALICE training at any given time. All an instructor needs to do is call and there will be somebody there to teach during their class time.
“The assimilated drills take an hour to an hour and a half,” said Bell. “We have taught three classes so far this semester and it is a service the NSU Police Department offers to all instructors.”
Oklahoma state law requires “Lockdown” drills twice a year for primary and secondary schools since 2007, but the law does not explain what a lockdown drill is. The ALICE program is policy here at Northeastern State University, but not a state law.
“We teach it in the classroom because if something were to happen, that’s where the students would be,” said Bell. “It is best to prepare them in the actual setting as opposed to in the auditorium or somewhere like that. We first teach them to barricade the doors and ultimately to evacuate to safety. The better prepared the students are, the more likely they are to survive if a situation like Virginia Tech were to arise.”
This is just one more way that NSU is doing all they can to ensure the safety of their students. ALICE equips students with strategies to better prepare for life-and-death encounters because one cannot rely on law enforcement alone. Learning to save one’s own life is imperative.
For more information contact NSU Police Department at (918) 458-2111 or University_Police@nsuok.edu.