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Campus Safety: It couldn’t happen here!

(photo credit)

But it happened at UCLA……….

At 9:38 am on June, 1, 2016 the UCLA Police Department received a 911 call.  Shots were fired at the Engineering Building 4. There was an active shooter or shooters on campus. A wave of phone calls inundated the UCLA dispatch center, 788 in just over 2 hours. One of those calls erroneously reported more shootings in a different part of campus. A Bruin Alert text message went out at 9:51 am “Police Activity vic Engineering Building 4. Avoid area until further notice.” This was quickly followed by a second message, “Shooting at Engineering 4. Go to secure location and deny entry (lockdown) now!” The day ended tragically as a Professor William Klug was killed by a former PhD student who then committed suicide. The damage could have been much worse but was mitigated due to the brave actions of one professor who blocked the shooters exit.

UCLA PD Lt. Mark Littlefield shared the events of the June 1st shooting incident at the Faculty Senate Retreat this past August. He talked about how the day unfolded, he shared what worked and what did not work.

Lt. Littlefield was joined by USC Professor Mike Lee who shared his experience as a chief mentor for a student conference held in Nice, France.  Tragically, many of the students attending the conference joined the Bastille Day celebration were on the promenade when a large truck was driven down the promenade killing 86 and injuring scores of others. Some of those killed and injured included students attending the European Innovation Academy. Many were traumatized having either witnessed the event or knowing someone who was injured or killed.

Captain, John Thomas from USC Department of Public Safety joined the session to describe DPS planned response to such an emergency event.

Some messages were clear.

  • Training works. Active shooter training provided to the UCLA community provided beforehand was vital. This training centers on providing information, developing a course of action and a coordinated response.   Our own DPS provides active shooter training and will provide this to any department or any school. If you are interested, click here to set up a training and education session for your department or school. At a minimum, watch this YouTube video on active shooter response shared by Capt. Thomas.
  • Communication and responses are important. The Bruin Alert system notified the UCLA community about the active shooter. Are you signed up for USC’s Trojan Alert? If not, here is the link to sign up.
  • Medical and counseling services should be available. This is covered by our upcoming article on Crisis Prevention.

To see the presentations go to the Senate Retreat page.

To discuss go to our Facebook post.

Ruben Davila
Ruben Davila
Member-at-Large, Executive Board of the Academic Senate
Professor of Clinical Accounting, Marshall School of Business