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Active shooter drill links MPD, UTHSC

On Friday, March 2, more than 25 police officers from the Memphis Police Department and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Campus Police collaborated on an active shooter drill.

 
 Lue Walls-Upchurch

(Lue Walls-Upchurch is Chief of Campus Police at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.)

On Friday, March 2, more than 25 police officers from the Memphis Police Department (MPD) and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Campus Police collaborated on an active shooter drill set on the UTHSC Memphis campus. The mock emergency situation was staged to create an intensive training scenario for law enforcement officers. MPD Tactical Units outlined an active shooter situation for 25 officers. They then paired UTHSC Campus Police and city of Memphis police officers in teams to seek out and apprehend the suspect as described.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2002 there were approximately 16 million students enrolled in 4,200 colleges and universities across the nation. These same college and university campuses are constantly growing and changing. Unfortunately, not all of the change has been favorable. When we consider the recent shootings and other challenges on our nation’s campuses, campus law enforcement finds itself seeking additional ways to increase the level and intensity of training for police officers.

 
The active shooter drill was a mock emergency staged at UTHSC to create an intensive training scenario for Memphis Police and UTHSC Campus Police. (Courtesy photo)

Our campuses have traditionally been viewed somewhat as islands unto themselves, but today it is essential for campus law enforcement and local law enforcement to develop Memorandums of Understanding. These documents open doors to cooperation among various law enforcement and campus safety agencies.

The training exercise…was the result of years of work to build and foster a professional relationship with the Memphis Police Department. We recognize that any major challenge that occurs on the UTHSC campus – such as an “active shooter” – will mandate a response by specialized local law enforcement. Through joint training exercises with the MPD, both agencies have an opportunity to gain insight into what to expect when responding to an emergency, as well as continuing to foster a greater level of cooperation.  We are very appreciative that MPD Director Toney Armstrong, MPD Colonel Russell Houston and UTHSC Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown supported this endeavor.

Although, this is the first multi-agency training drill held on the UTHSC campus, UTHSC officers have actively participated in similar drills hosted by other law enforcement agencies. In the coming weeks, UTHSC officers will also be actively engaged in a multi-agency training exercise, which will be hosted by the FBI, University of Memphis Police Department, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

As our college and university campuses change, campus law enforcement must maintain training and emergency preparedness as central priorities.


 

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