Preparation drills to return to Quincy University in the fall

Some students are drawing their focus toward preparing for a potential shooting at Quincy University after the shootings that occurred in Nashville, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. QU has not had a shooting drill since before COVID.

“The last few years, we partner with Quincy Police Department and we do shooting drills every other year,” Sam Lathrop, security director of QU, said. “So, if you went to school here for four years, you have the opportunity to attend at least two of the active shooter training that we do. We did have a slow down during the pandemic, so there were two years there where we didn’t do that. I don’t know how we would do live drills in a good way, certainly not during the school year, even though we put up the information ahead of time. It’s really tough doing a live drill during a school year.”

“It’s too hard to let everyone know on this campus that there’s a live drill,” Judy Abbott, professor of criminal justice and legal studies, said. “If they saw police or someone running with a gun, it would be extremely upsetting and you never know how people are going to interpret that information and what they’re going to do because of it. It takes the commitment of the entire university campus and even the surrounding neighborhoods in preparing for live drills. It just isn’t feasible for us to do here. There’s just too many moving parts, and people might not have been contacted about it and they wouldn’t know.”

Dimeer Oliver, a licensed security officer, is standing in the doorway and looking into a classroom to ensure that no one is in it.
Dimeer Oliver, a licensed security officer, is checking the perimeter of a classroom in Friars’ Hall to ensure it is empty. (Wes Shelor/QU Media)

Before the COVID pandemic occurred, a table-top discussion of school shooter scenarios was implemented in addition to the preparation drills.

“We started having table-top discussions the last couple of years we had those drills,” Abbott said. “We felt that it gave the students more access to the material, and they became more engaged. We talk about various ways to get out of the room and how risky that is. What should we do if we can’t get out of the room in terms of barricading and in terms of are we going to fight, or are we going to turn off the lights and pretend we’re not there? All the different options that we’ve learned about in the exercise, we can talk with a smaller group of students more in-depth. They seem to really want that information in that kind of a setting, where they can really ask different follow-up questions and talk about how they feel about it.”

Jack Urbanciz, a sophomore, would like to see a way for both the discussions and live drills implemented more frequently together for the benefit of students, instead of having only one of these exercises once every two years.

“Making sure that we as students are being properly told of how to react, as well as knowing the environment around us, knowing how to react if there’s a shooter around, and also having proper protocol in place, if we find a student that may be a risk to our school and our health, that would be the ideal for discussion and reaction,” Urbanciz said.

To hear more from Urbanciz on the topic, watch the video below.

QU has been reaching out to the QPD for future collaboration.

Monte Munoz is sitting at his desk, flanked by a phone and a camera, working at his computer in the security office at Friars Hall.
Monte Munoz, a licensed security officer, is working at his computer in Friars Hall. (Wes Shelor/QU Media)

“We are encouraging and have made the offer to the Quincy Police Department that if they wanted to do a drill and practice here, during a break or summer, so that they have a better understanding of the geography and our layout,” Lathrop said. “That offer’s still on the table. Hopefully, they’ll take advantage of that.”

From left to right, Munoz and Oliver walk down a hall side by side, securing the perimeter within Friars Hall.
Munoz and Oliver walk down a hall, ensuring Friars Hall is secure. (Wes Shelor/QU Media)

When QU will have live drills again is still being worked out. A table-top discussion will likely occur this coming fall. In terms of security, students, faculty, and staff use card scanners to lessen the chances for a shooter to infiltrate the campus buildings.

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