Albuquerque Schools Train Teachers on New Active Shooter Protocol

Albuquerque Schools Train Teachers on New Active Shooter Protocol

Instead of the traditional lockdown and shelter-in-place protocol for an active shooter incident, APS will now be applying the ALICE system: “alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.” ALICE has been introduced to 3,700 school districts and is more proactive than the traditional response.

Albuquerque Public Schools announced its new campus safety initiatives at a news conference on Monday. The new efforts include training for faculty and staff on ALICE, a new protocol for reacting to an active shooter.

The conversation about school safety has been spurred by school shootings across the country. Albuquerque Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Scott Elder said that schools in the district are safe, but the “new reality” for districts involves discussing ways to make their campuses safer and more secure.

Instead of the traditional lockdown and shelter-in-place protocol for an active shooter incident, APS will now be applying the ALICE system: “alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.” ALICE has been introduced to 3,700 school districts and is more proactive than the traditional response.

“In the past, it was lock your door, hide and wait for someone to come get you,” Elder said. “Now, were doing a lot more in terms of providing information to the adults and children on campus and allowing them – with proper training – to make good decisions to keep kids safe.”

Both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office worked together to help implement the ALICE protocol once it was chosen, according to APS Chief of Police Steve Gallegos. He said that APS officers were trained on ALICE by someone with the program, and are now training teachers and staff.

“We are looking towards October to finish up (teacher training) and sometime in the beginning of November to be in full ALICE protocol,” Gallegos said.

Training will include skills like how to create a barrier to block the door or the best way to break a window in order to escape, according to Elder. Elder said the goal was to encourage students and staff “to do what it takes to survive.”

Teachers will use age-appropriate drills and meetings to teach ALICE protocol to their students.

The district is planning upgrades to physical security as well, including classroom door locks, fencing around schools, card access to front doors and secure front entrances. APS is also upgrading its alarm and camera systems, as well as its dispatch center to make it easier to communicate with law enforcement.

One goal of APS’s new safety measures is to empower teachers and staff to make decisions in an emergency, Elder said.

“Hopefully, we will never have to use these protocols,” he said.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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