Kent State Police Department’s active shooter protocol


Jillian Flack

A blue light station outside of the Memorial Athletic Convocation Center. University police said you can push the button in case of emergency.

Jillian Flack, Reporter

Last month’s shooting at Michigan State University has caused many students on campus to fear for their own safety. The Kent State Police Department’s current active shooter protocol is to neutralize the threat if an act of violence is being committed.

The department said if they are called for a verified active violence situation, their first priority is to stop the attacker by any means necessary and keep the students safe.

“We are building searching, and we are looking for the possible threat,” Sergeant Tricia Knoles of the Kent Police Department, who used to run the campus’s active shooter A.L.I.C.E. training, said.

To prepare for a situation of mass violence, Knoles explained that the police station trains at least four times a year. Along with several other nearby police stations, they run through scenarios of mass violence in order to prepare themselves for a similar situation in real life.

“We’re doing the best that we can do with the knowledge that we have right now,” said Knoles.

According to the Washington Post, since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, there have been 366 school shootings. The recent shooting at Michigan State University on Feb. 13 resulted in four deaths.

Kent State requires its freshmen to take Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (A.L.I.C.E.) training in their First Year Experience (FYE) class. In the event of an active shooter, it encourages students to run, hide and then fight a perpetrator if they have to.

“I definitely think A.L.I.C.E. training should be incorporated into our program although I feel like a lot of students are not listening to this instruction since it is online, leaving many to still not know what to do if an active shooter takes place,” Ella Katona, a freshman journalism major who completed A.L.I.C.E. training, said.

After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, many of these techniques were developed to give people a better chance of survival in a situation of violence. The university’s A.L.I.C.E. training is offered online several times each semester.

“In the event that something does happen on campus, during that critical incident is not the time to sit and think ‘What should I do?’ So the A.L.I.C.E. program really emphasizes mental preparedness, that it makes you think about what would I do and the circumstances that should ever happen prior to it ever happening and then it gives you options,” Knoles said.

The police department said police officers are frequently patrolling to keep campus safe, and there are blue emergency buttons students can press to alert the police of an urgent situation.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics report, Kent State has been ranked as the safest school in Ohio for six of the last 10 years.

Jillian Flack is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]