Many people don’t know what they would do if someone entered their classroom and began shooting a gun.
On Nov. 7 in the Sundown Room at the Student Center on the Levelland campus, Nickolis Castillo, chief of the Campus Police Department, held ALICE training for students. ALICE training prepares students and faculty on different ways to respond in case of an active shooter.
“We have quite a large student population, so we want to get as many people trained as possible,” said Chief Castillo. “So just having the staff (trained) doesn’t really accomplish that. The students are really what this place is about, so we really want to make the students know how to take their survival into their own hands.”
Chief Castillo taught students and some staff members the steps in ALICE, which are Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. Each step is used in whatever order works in a given situation. Students were taught how doing something is better than nothing in an active shooter situation and what a difference it can make.
“Just hearing a lot of the scenarios where because someone acted, or because multiple people acted, they did end up stopping the person,” said Jeremiah Patterson, an SPC student, who participated in the training. “To know that if the people around me can take action, then other people can make it out is a comforting thought.”
Students were also informed about how fast situations can occur and why police can’t always get to the shooter in time.
“I learned how quickly things could happen,” said Mark Tiptoe, an SPC student, who also attended the training session. “I also learned that there are other options besides locking down, because I was one of the ones that was taught we’re supposed to hide in the corner and lock the door.”
To show students what it is like to be in an active shooter situation, Chief Castillo put students in different scenarios. Castillo was the active shooter and the students had to either go into lock-down or run. This helped show the best option for dealing with whatever situation you are in. He also taught students how to take down a shooter with a mass-to-limb maneuver, which is when a person uses all of their weight to hold down one of the shooter’s limbs’. This can be done for each limb on the shooter’s body.
Chief Castillo said that he hopes to see ALICE training become mandatory. Some states currently mandate ALICE, while certain states also have specific jobs mandated to go through ALICE certification.
“I would love to see Texas do that,” said Chief Castillo, “because this is training that everybody needs. It doesn’t take long and really ranges from the full course. This didn’t cost anything for me to do. I wanted to endow people with knowledge for free, because why not?”
Student Alexis De La Garza thought the training was really handy and useful to go through.
“It’s a basic helpful thing that if you didn’t know anything about it, then you definitely will now,” said De La Garza. “It was good to get a refresher, because it’s been a long time. An active shooter is not something I think about, but the possibility does lurk in my mind every now and then, and if it comes into mind, I just look around and see what can be used.”
Active shooters are a major concern for Chief Castillo and many students on campus.
“We live in a relatively safe community,” Chief Castillo said. “We have great students and community members. But just like you saw with the church shooting, it can happen here. Sometimes there’s a political motive, religious motive, mental health issue, or sometimes it’s just evil. There’s no pattern really, and we can’t predict where or how. So it’s good to prepare. That’s all we can do is prepare.”