MSUToday
Published: March 25, 2019

Police prepare faculty, staff for emergencies

Contact(s): Maddie Curley University Communications office: 517-355-4082 curleym@msu.edu

“It’s always better to do something over doing nothing,” said MSU Police Officer Steve Beard.

Beard is one of four emergency managers for the MSU Police Department and the main trainer for Secure in Place, a program that prepares faculty and staff to act during an emergency on campus. The principles of Secure in Place can be applied to situations where there is an immediate threat to the community from active violence. Weather or environmental emergencies may necessitate seeking shelter, but Secure in Place requires a location away from the assailant.

Secure in Place consists of a 60-minute instructional presentation that includes video and oral instruction along with a Q&A session. After groups complete the initial training, they get the chance to put their learnings into place during a 45-minute simulated exercise.

The training primarily focuses on how campus personnel should respond during an active violence situation or when there is an uncontained risk or danger to civilians. Active violence is when a suspect or suspects are using some kind of weapon in an ongoing assault causing immediate death or serious injury to multiple victims. It includes situations involving active shooters, but also other weapons can be used. In addition, the situation is not contained with a continued risk or danger to the community.

“We recommend groups participate in Secure in Place annually to stay refreshed,” Beard said. “An emergency alert can be sent at any time — it’s important to have a plan in place and be prepared to take action in the event of a crisis.”

During the training, faculty and staff learn to identify an appropriate secure-in-place location, where they can take shelter and remain safe from a threat. Beard stresses the importance of having several different safe places in mind, as an emergency situation can happen anywhere, at any time.

“We started these trainings in 2016, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “Although we have emergency action team members in every building, we recommend this training to all campus personnel so they know how to respond to an alert.”

Beard also recommends employees review their settings for how they receive alerts sent by the MSU Police Department by visiting alert.msu.edu. All emergency alerts are sent out through the MSU Alert system by the MSU Police Department.

Campus groups can voluntarily participate in the training by contacting Beard directly at beards@police.msu.edu. Typical lead time for the training is 30-60 days, depending on building permissions and clearance, as the simulated exercise requires partial or total building closure for the entirety of the drill.

Genevieve Cottrell, Jane Miller and MSU Police Officer Steve Beard conduct the Secure in Place drill for MSU Athletics in 1855 place. Secure in Place training helps prepare campus personnel to appropriately respond to various emergency situations.