Active shooter drill Feb. 11 left faculty, students vulnerable

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Chain of communication is one key to a successful drill, risk manager says.

By Melissa Luna

Some students and employees remained in the dark after a less-than-successful active shooter drill at this college Feb. 11.

“Something always goes wrong in a drill,” Mike Legg, director of enterprise risk management, said. “That’s the nature of a drill.”

When a drill is scheduled to happen, the college must follow a chain of communication to ensure the campus knows about it, he said.

Alamo Colleges police dispatch communicates with the college’s building action team, which then communicates with public relations.

Every college has its own building action team, which always includes the office of the vice president for student success.

PR is then responsible for notifying the general college population about the drill by calling and emailing everyone in the system, before and after the drill.

It is important for students, staff and faculty to keep their contact information up-to-date in Canvas because that is how they will be contacted, Cpl. Adriana De Hoyos said.

De Hoyos is this college’s corporal campus coordinator.

“What happened Feb. 11 is that the dispatch department didn’t send out the original message to  the BAT team,” Legg said. “So, the chain was broken and not everyone was on the same page.”

Pre-nursing freshman Clareena Pena said she did not know about the drill. “I trust that they want to keep us safe,” she said. “And if a few failed drills is what has to happen to make sure everything is perfect, then that’s fine,” she said.

“Drills such as active shooter drills happen in phases, so we don’t lockdown the entire campus,” De Hoyos said. “There is a specified person within each building and/or floor who acts as point of contact during the drill.”

Everyone needs to close all doors and windows in the room and sit in the corner, she said.

During a drill, risk management and emergency service responders check that buildings are secure.

Will Davis, emergency management coordinator for Alamo Colleges, is scheduled to meet with Michael Parsons, protective services course coordinator, to follow up on the drill, Legg said.

“I ensure you that we will figure out what went wrong,” Legg said. “We fully support everyone who wants to make this a successful drill.”


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