Washburn police chief discusses preparing for active shooter

Troy Russell

Washburn faculty has scheduled active shooter training led by Washburn Chief of Police Dean Forster for two separate sessions. The first was held at 4 p.m. Nov. 10 in Morgan Hall, room 202, and the second will take place at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in Morgan Hall, room 151.

The Washburn community has been talking about the approaching transition to having firearms on campus. Whether the change is going to improve safety is being debated, but it will be a legal right.

Being prepared for the occurrence of an active shooter can be reassuring if an incident were to occur or help with uneasiness students and faculty may feel with having firearms on campus.

Forster said that it is important to realize that there is a difference between a shooting incident and an active shooter incident.

As defined by the Washburn University Police Department, the an active shooter incident is an incident in which there is the intentional random or systematic shooting of multiple victims in which the shooter’s intent is to continue the spree until stopped by law enforcement or suicide.

“There is no concrete answer for anything about [the question of] what should I do; that depends on where you are and different things of that nature,” Forster said. “However, we can tell you what to expect from Washburn University if there is an active shooter.”

Some statistics provided by WUPD include an FBI investigation between 2002-2012 during which they studied 154 active shooter incidents involving three or more victims. A clear motive was never established in 40 percent of the shootings, and schools make up 17 percent of active shooter locations.

Key points emphasized in an active shooter training class consist of understanding what an active shooter is, what can be expected from WUPD and the actions that an individual can take to remain safe.

“People talk about what can you do to stop an active shooter,” Forster said. “Well there’s nothing you can do to stop one, but I think Washburn has really taken a lot of measures and done a very good job to make sure that we can counter one.”

Forster has been doing these training classes for about three years with word of mouth being the primary method of awareness for this class’ availability. So far, Mabee Library, KTWU and Information Technology Services have taken advantage of the opportunity and scheduled training classes too.

Forster said if student organizations are interested in scheduling training classes, he would gladly be of service. He can be reached at [email protected] or (785) 670-1994.