The Santa Monica College Police Department has adopted nationally accepted law enforcement response procedures to contain and terminate such threats. The following information regarding law enforcement response will enable you to take appropriate protective actions for yourself. The following instructions are intended for incidents that are emergency in nature (i.e., imminent or in progress).
If an active shooter situation develops, Santa Monica College will implement its emergency response plan and alerts will be sent out via the Connect Ed Notification System, E Mail, and Telephonic Message System for instructions to staff and students. Santa Monica College Police and the City of Santa Monica Police Department will work together to manage the incident.
Active Shooter Defined - One or more subjects who participate in a random or systematic shooting spree, demonstrating their intent to continuously harm others. An active shooter is a person or persons who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people, most often in heavily populated areas. In most cases active shooters use firearms and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate response and deployment from law enforcement and emergency personnel to stop the shooting and prevent further harm to the community.
In general, how you respond to an active shooter will dictate the circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and call the College Police at 310-434-4300 or dial 911 as soon as possible.
First and foremost – Take Immediate Protective Actions:
- Try not to do anything to provoke an active shooter!
- Quickly clear students, staff, and faculty from the area. Try to warn others to seek cover.
- Close and lock all doors to offices and classrooms, turn off the lights, close blinds and hide.
- If your door cannot be locked from the inside, stack desk, tables, and chairs to form a barricade.
- Have everyone get down on the floor, or up against a solid interior wall, and shelter in place.
- To prevent confusion have one person call the police and provide the following information:
- A description of the suspect(s), sex, race, clothing, type of weapon, location last seen, and direction of travel, and Identity – if known.
- If you are in the open and unable to find a room to lock down, run away from the sound of the gunfire and out of site.
- Turn off cell phones or lower ring tone. Place cell phone to vibrate if possible.
- Devises that omit sound will attract attention to your location.
- If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims.
- Attempts to rescue people should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside the secured area.
- Depending on circumstances, consideration may be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely as possible.
If there is no possibility of escape or hiding and only as a last resort should you make an attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s).
What to Do If Taken Hostage
- Be patient. Avoid drastic action. The first 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Be alert and follow the Hostage takers instructions.
- Don’t speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary.
- Avoid arguments or appearing hostile towards the captor. Try to develop a rapport with the captor. It is probable that the captor(s) do not want to harm anyone.
- Be observant, you may be released or be able to escape.
- You may be able to help others with your observations by providing law enforcement officers with valuable information.
- Be prepared to speak to law enforcement personnel regarding the situation.
What to Expect From Responding Police Officers
The objectives of responding police officers are:
- Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) to stop life threatening behavior
- Identify threats such as improvised explosive devices
- Identifying victims to facilitate medical care, interviews and counseling
Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may be in teams; they may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical hear. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Regardless of how the police appear or sound, do not be afraid of them. Do exactly as the officers instruct. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands visible at all times; if instructed to lie down, do so. If you know where the shooter is, tell the officers. The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured. Keep in mind that even once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.
Reporting a Threat
While shootings in schools are rare episodes, when they occur, they are often devastating. As an institution of higher learning, it is important for Santa Monica College Police to view these types of incidents with the appropriate perspective. Since 1966, there have been 89 shooting deaths at U.S. universities and college campuses; Virginia Tech was the largest. Compare that to the approximately 1,100 that commit suicide on college and university campuses every year, or the 1,400 to 1,700 alcohol-related deaths on college and university campuses each year.
Despite shootings on campuses being rare, we as a community must be vigilant and prepared. It is important to note a few facts about these types of shootings. The Secret Service has studied the 30 major shooting incidents that have taken place at schools (elementary through college) since 1974. They found remarkable similarity in them. First, almost all of the individuals who have committed these crimes have been male, and were known for being isolated socially. Almost all of them planned out their actions in advance, and over three quarters of them actually shared their plans with others before putting them into effect. Unfortunately, in only two cases did anyone report the plan to authorities before the attack. With these facts in mind, it is critically important that members of our community report threats and potential threats in a timely manner.
If you believe an individual poses an imminent threat to a member or members of the college community please contact our College Police immediately.
If you do not believe that harm is imminent, but an individual’s behavior seems threatening or seems like it could lead to harm to the individual or to the community, you should report the concern. If you are a student, staff or faculty member, contact the Campus Police and Safety Office. It is better to err on the side of notifying the appropriate individuals than to remain silent; the institution has resources with which to assess these situations and the individual of concern. If you have any questions, please contact the College Police Department.
Lock Down – Shelter in Place
A lock-down condition may be required for a number of different types of emergencies, such as a hostile intruder, a chemical spill or plume, or civil unrest. Lock-down announcements are given over the College Emergency Alert Phone System.
If you see a hostile intruder, dial 911 from a College phone if you can, and report what is happening. DO NOT pull a fire alarm! This could cause innocent persons to be put in harm’s way.
1. Stay in your classroom or office.
2. Immediately secure the classroom or office door(s).
3. Turn off the lights.
4. If possible, stay out of sight of windows and doors.
5. Stay put until police officers give an “All Clear”.
If a hostile intruder is seen inside a building, dial 911 from a College phone to report what is happening.
DO NOT pull a fire alarm! This could cause innocent persons to be put in harm’s way. Only you can tell if it is safe to run from the building. If in doubt, do not run. Seek shelter where you are. Secure the doors to the room you are in. Turn off the lights. Stay out of sight of windows and doors. Be quiet and stay calm. Stay in hiding until a Police Officer gives an “All Clear” notification.
If you feel your life is in imminent danger, you need to determine if you should take defensive action.
If a hostile intruder is outside a building, run away from the threat as fast as you can. Do not run in a straight line. Keep objects or buildings between you and the intruder. If you can get away from the area of danger, warn others not to enter the area.
Dial 911 and report what you have seen.
If the intruder is near you and causing great harm, hide if at all possible.