UM Police Officers Participating in Tactical Active Shooter Training

Three University Police Department officers begin another day of patrol, keeping the Ole Miss campus safe for students, faculty and staff. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Officers with the University of Mississippi Police Department soon will undergo training on how to respond quickly and effectively to possible active shooter situations.

The training, which is mandatory for all UPD officers, is being conducted at the Buddy East Range and Shoot House from 4 to 10 p.m. July 17 and 19. Curriculum includes classroom lecture, instructor demonstration and force-on-force scenario-based application. Course instructors are Lt. Adam Peacock, Lt. Jason Welch and Lt. Jesse Richards.

“Our officers are trained in necessary concepts and principles that would allow us to tactically deal with a threat to our community,” said Richards, UPD training and operations officer. “We train to provide a response that is both quick and effective, minimizing the loss of life and injured.”

While an active shooter situation is a stressful call no officer hopes to receive, appropriate preparation is necessary.

“Officers participating in this training come away with a better sense of preparedness in managing that stress in order to reach our objective,” UPD Chief Ray Hawkins said. “As police officers, we willingly and dutifully move towards the sound of gunfire with that single objective in mind: save as many lives as possible.”

Last March, the university was ranked among the nation’s safest college campuses by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, which ranked UM No. 64 nationally among public universities. Ole Miss placed second among Southeastern Conference schools and ranks among the top 28 percent of college campuses on the list of 243 public and private higher education institutions with enrollments of more than 10,000.

The National Council for Home Safety and Security used the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety Security Survey to determine where schools ranked.

Personal safety resources such as the LiveSafe app, a mobile safety communications platform for students, faculty and staff; as well the Rebel Patrol safe walk program and training to prepare for an active shooter incident for all incoming freshmen have helped bring awareness to all those on campus, Hawkins said. He also noted that UPD undertakes customized security assessments ahead of most campus events and the university has installed security cameras throughout campus.

Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, said she’s pleased that UPD officers and the campus community are receiving recognition for efforts to keep students safe.

“I am extremely proud of the service and 24/7 commitment provided by the men and women of UPD to keeping faculty, staff and students safe,” Hephner LaBanc said. “I am most impressed with their responsiveness and level of care for every person they serve.

“I am proud to work with UPD and will continue to advocate for ways to keep our campus safe.


By Edwin B. Smith

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