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UNC police department offers student training for active shooter situations

UNC administrators at South Building after fire
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and Randy Young, media relations manager for UNC Public Safety, stand by the steps of South Building after a fire was put out on the Davie Poplar Tree. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Bridges.

The UNC School of Law learned how to be prepared, not afraid, during active shooter situations Tuesday. 

Shots Fired on Campus is an in-person, voluntary training run by Sgt. James David through the UNC-Chapel Hill Police Department. 

It is based on a DVD called “Shots Fired: When Lightning Strikes,” produced by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety. The in-person training is available to on-campus groups, departments and residence communities.

Randy Young, UNC Public Safety media relations manager, highlighted several programs and policies the school has to address the expectations of campus members during emergency situations.

“We would highly suggest that folks avail themselves of the resource because it gives kind of a unified and standardized approach and response to active shooter scenarios or any threats on campus,” Young said.

He said the in-person instruction brings another dimension to the table by having someone there to answer questions and address public fears or concerns. 

The program is requested frequently, Young said, especially at the start of new semesters when new students and faculty enter the campus.

“Even if the message may be old, there’s new populations on campus, so it becomes paramount that we deliver this message,” Young said.

A script, developed between faculty and UNC Campus Safety and Risk Management, was sent out to the College of Arts and Sciences, according to Young.

He said the script was created at the direct request of the school’s faculty at the beginning of the spring semester, and it covered a variety of scenarios, including active shooter situations.

Young said the script was just one way Campus Safety and Risk Management is promoting safety preparedness. He cited the frequent use of in-class posters instructing teachers and students what to do in emergencies. 

After the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for arming the country’s teachers.

Eighteen states allow loaded guns on school grounds with written permission. North Carolina is not among these states.

Under a North Carolina statute, it’s a crime to have a gun on school grounds. The statute only has some exceptions, which do not include teachers.

In 2013, the N.C. General Assembly passed a law creating a volunteer school safety officers program. The program allows certified former law enforcement officers to serve as safety officers on school campuses through cooperation between law enforcement and school boards.

According to Jeff Welty, a UNC School of Government professor and director of North Carolina Judicial College, these positions are subject to supervision by a police chief or sheriff.

”It’s my impression that the program has not been used since it was authorized in 2013, but in light of recent events, I think there’s a little bit of momentum in some jurisdictions to begin authorizing using those volunteer school safety resource officers,” Welty said.

The program has received more attention in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland.

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In the wake of the massacre, it was reported that a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy who was the school resource officer failed to enter the building during the shooting.  

Among the 17 killed in the shooting, three were school employees. Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach, died saving the lives of several students when he shielded them from gunfire. Another staff member, Scott Beigel, was killed while getting students into a classroom after the shooting broke out.

To request training from UNC Police, visit


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