By Perla Arellano
Amarillo College police officers were at Community Link, an AC outreach center, Nov. 1 to go over active shooter simulations.
Community Link staff members who participated included Maury Roman-Jordan, director of outreach services; Danette Fenstermaker, an instructor; Sayra Maldonado, a community outreach specialist; and Aida Aldape, a senior staff assistant.
Officers who participated were Chief Steve Chance, Cpl. Lynn Ward, Officer Scott Acker and Cpl. Darryl Moore, who is AC’s communication crime prevention officer.
The training for active shooter situations started with explanations from Chance.
Afterward, the faculty members explained where they were stationed at the center and went through active shooter simulations. Then each faculty member had to “teach” the officer like they would be training other faculty and students in the building. At the end another active shooter simulation was done.
Chance said there are three types of responses to an active shooter situation: evacuate, run/hide and fight. Both faculty and students should be ready to respond in case of a situation and should be prepared by having some sort of warning device like a whistle, he said.
Chance said faculty also should be prepared for students who may not react how they think they are going to react.
“Some may get up and take off running,” he said. “But you are going to have to make the decision on what to tell the student: run, barricade or fight.”
Chance said the No. 1 person to take care of is oneself. “You can’t help anybody if you’re put out of commission,” he said.
There is no right or wrong answer when responding to a situation, he said.
“You are the only one who can make that decision, and you only have that much time,” Chance said.
Lynn said there might be a time when a person has to made a desicion whether to fight back.
“But I can’t tell you to do that,” Lynn said. “Everybody’s got their own line in the sand that somebody has to cross before they feel like they have to fight.”
Lynn gave some examples of tools that a person could use to fight, such as pens, fingernails, teeth and a Lysol can. “There’s all sorts of stuff in here that you can defend yourself with,” he said.
The police officers said to always keep the door locked so people just have to shut the door. They said people also could barricade the door with a desk.
The police identified the weakest part of the body and said to go straight for the face.
“The eyes is one option,” Lynn said. “If he can’t see you, he can’t shoot you.”
Lynn demonstrated how to hurt someone with one’s hands by curling a hand into a fist and pushing the palm upward into the nose.
After the simulations, Maldonado and Aldape went with Acker to re-teach what they had learned, and Roman-Jordan and Fenstermaker stayed with Lynn.
After they demonstrated how they would teach the students and faculty, Lynn said there will be people who refuse to fight.
“There’s going to be some people that it’s too terrifying, and they will just lock down,” Lynn said.
He said they are training the Community Link staff and faculty first and will come back to train students, which probably will be done during the spring 2014 semester.
Roman-Jordan and Fenstermaker said there will be challenges because GED students are at Community Link for only eight weeks at a time, and ESL students are learning English.
Lynn said that as part of their training plan, they have to come up with interpreters in order to communicate in all the languages they will run into at AC.
“If you will just plant the seed where the kids will think, then there will be some sort of reaction from them other than giving up and cowering or not doing anything,” he said.
Lynn said fighting is the last thing one wants to do, but if a shooter gets into a classroom or any room, Lynn is not going to sit there and go quietly.
“I am going to go out screaming and scratching,” he said.
Roman-Jordan said one thing staff would be able to do for students with a language barrier is to create signs with key words in different languages next to symbols and hang them in the classrooms.
In order to cover the topic and how to respond, Lynn said there must be an explanation, demonstration and practical application.
Both women accompanied Acker when Fenstermaker went through her procedure in case of an active shooter.
They talked about being able to contact officials at 9-1-1 or calling AC police.
“All you have to do is pick it up, dial 9-1-1 and leave it there,” Acker said.
If the person calling has time to talk, Acker said to tell them the situation and the address, but if not, he said to leave the phone.
The operator’s next move would be to contact the dispatcher and inform them that they have a 9-1-1 call and that nobody is talking, he said.