In keeping safe at FDU: Run, fight, hide
By Kenna Caprio
Recent mass shootings have prompted Fairleigh Dickinson University — which maintains a university-wide emergency response team — to host active shooter presentations on campus.
“If you think about what to do now (before a crisis), you’re two steps ahead of the game,” says Dave Miles, Metropolitan Campus director, public safety. “A lot of safety is just common sense.”
Covering topics from safety tips to violence indicators at the Metropolitan Campus event, James Kenny, associate professor of criminal justice; Kenneth Croonquist, Teaneck Police captain; and Miles upped awareness about potential threats amongst faculty and staff.
“People don’t just snap. They’re like rubber bands. Pull, pull and then snap,” explains Kenny as he discusses the psyche of potential attackers. “By taking prompt and decisive action (beforehand), we can diffuse situations.”
Planning ahead and being aware can help reduce the risk of danger — whether it’s realizing warning signs, reporting suspicious situations or remembering safety training.
Faculty and staff who witness questionable behavior should report concerns to behavioral intervention teams established on both New Jersey campuses. Members include representatives from public safety, counseling services, student health services and the dean of students office.
Miles suggests that the FDU community take the time to screen Run, Hide, Fight, a short video that shows a mock active shooter situation and three responses that potential victims can choose.
“Active shooters are fluid,” says Croonquist. “So there’s no hard and fast rule but think with common sense. Stay out of harm’s way.”
On March 12, the Metropolitan Campus will hold an active drill.
“We’re going to use Becton Hall and have it closed down,” says Miles. “We’re going to do a number of scenarios. It’s kind of a drill for everybody (Teaneck Police, Public Safety and University volunteers) to get more information on what to do and how to act if, God forbid, this ever happened.”
College at Florham presentation sessions are scheduled for Monday, March 18 and Friday, March 22. A panel of experts made up of Willie Thornton, director, Campus Public Safety for the College at Florham; Meghan Sacks, assistant professor of criminology and criminology program director; and Captain Robert Treiber of the Florham Park Police will speak.
“The senseless shooting in Connecticut demands awareness. That just shows no one is immune from these horrible acts of violence,” says Thornton.
However, despite the uptick in violence at schools, according to United States Secret Service statistics shared by Miles, “odds are one-in-one-million that a student will die at school as a result of a violent act.”
“These situations are unpredictable and they evolve quickly, so I think we just need to bring some awareness to our staff and faculty,” says Thornton. “Be aware of your environment. Sometimes we just go day to day and we’re caught off guard when these things happen. We just want people to start thinking about the what-ifs.”
Thornton and Miles can be reached at 973-443-8929 and 201-692-2227, respectively. More tips and information are available through the Department of Homeland Security.