University of Michigan Will Start Offering Active Attacker Training

University of Michigan Will Start Offering Active Attacker Training

The University of Michigan will start offering optional active attacker training for students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

The University of Michigan will start offering optional active attacker training to students, faculty, staff and members of the community. The training program, “Capable Guardian: Instruct, Evacuate, Shelter, Defend,” is provided via Threat Suppression Incorporated and will be implemented by the Division of Public Safety and Security.

There is not yet an estimated start date for Capable Guardian, said Melissa Overton, deputy chief of police and public information officer. The program will help address the “in-between” area that often happens as a result of active attacker policies.

“What we do, or what we’re going to begin doing, is that in-between — what is the role of the staff member at the University, with a classroom of staff?” Overton said. “We started with the areas of concern based on experience and educating the community that require attention.”

According to Threat Suppression’s website, the “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol used by the Department of Homeland Security can cause uncertainty and lead to the spread of inaccurate or vague information. “Run, Hide, Fight” is the policy currently used by the University of Michigan in the case of an active attacker.

After unfounded reports of an active shooter on campus March 16, questions were raised about the “run, hide, fight” policy. Senior Brad Ebenhoeh, who uses a wheelchair, said he was not previously informed of active attacker protocol, nor was he informed of how individuals with disabilities should approach the situation.

“It has been three weeks since the active shooter false claim, and I still don’t know what to do,” Ebenhoeh said. “That is unacceptable in my eyes.”

According to Overton, the March 16 situation did not factor into the university’s decision to implement the Capable Guardian program at UM.

The Capable Guardian program will focus primarily on one’s position during an active attacker incident, Overton said. DPSS will also include a new module in the training specifically to address the safety of people with disabilities in the event of an active attacker. This area is not currently covered in the Capable Guardian program.

“Our community members are in a role, either by their job title or personal conviction, where they would be unable to leave a vulnerable population or those which they are charged with leading or protecting, and also community members that have a disability or how to better prepare them within the framework of the ‘run, hide, fight’ model,” Overton said. “So these are both two areas that we’re going to be working on the community with, and it’s basically just training, educating and exercising so that they know what to do and how to respond to an active attacker.”

Capable guardians are identified by Threat Suppression as “people within organizations to which others would immediately look to for guidance during an active shooter event.” Participants in the program will be taught about crisis theories to help explain how these emergency incidents follow similar, predictable paths. The program will also include active attacker training.

Overton said students, staff, faculty and community members will be able to sign up for the Capable Guardian training via the DPSS website, and a community outreach officer will make contact and set up the training. She said she feels that offering the program is a step in the right direction.

Ebenhoeh said he supports the implementation of the program and hopes UM will appropriately address the safety of those with disabilities in an emergency event.

“If people do it, I am for it,” Ebenhoeh said. “I would sincerely hope that the University would handle where a person with a disability is supposed to go in shelter (during an active shooter situation).”