Active Shooter Response
The Illinois campus and surrounding communities are as prepared as they can be for a serious emergency involving someone with a gun. The best thing you can do is prepare for an event where your ability to respond quickly may save your life.
Active threats in the United States
An “active threat” is any incident which creates an immediate threat or presents an imminent danger to the campus community. People who want to do harm to campus community members may carry out their acts using firearms (active shooters) or other types of weapons or instruments.
Active threats may happen anywhere at any time, but these situations are, in particular, a serious concern for our nation’s university and college campuses. University of Illinois Police officers routinely train with neighboring law enforcement agencies specifically for these kinds of emergencies.
How to report emergencies
Those experiencing an emergency should call 911 immediately. You will be asked for your location; the nature of the emergency; information about the suspect, victims, potential injuries or any other suspicious activity; and your name and contact information. It is important that you remain on the line until the dispatcher ends the call.
If you are unsure of whether you are in an emergency or you just want to report suspicious behavior, you should still call police. Dispatchers will get you to the right person if you call 911. If you are certain that the situation does not pose an immediate risk to life or safety but you are still uncomfortable, you can contact the University of Illinois Police Department directly by dialing 217-333-1216.
How police respond
Police response tactics include addressing the threat immediately and taking any actions necessary to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible. The safety of all people involved in an active threat incident is of paramount importance and responding officers may forgo assistance to injured parties for the express purpose of meeting and neutralizing the threat, thereby reducing the overall number of casualties.
For any emergency on campus, University of Illinois Police Department officers will respond immediately. UIPD will most likely be assisted by members of other local community law enforcement agencies. Emergency medical services will be dispatched immediately upon report or confirmation of injuries. The Campus Emergency Operations Committee will convene to manage the impacts of the event on the campus community and to lend support and resources to the tactical response agencies.
How we inform campus
When adequate and credible information is available, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will issue emergency Illini-Alert messages to inform the campus and community of the threat and provide as much information as possible. Often, the amount of information we have is extremely limited upon the first report of an emergency, so expect to receive abbreviated action steps to take for your personal safety. If you receive a message, share that information with others in your general area. Campus authorities update those messages and provide more information as it becomes available and until the emergency is resolved.
Illini-Alert messages are sent via text message, email, social media and are posted to all campus homepages through the university’s Emergency Web Alert System.
All faculty, staff and students can sign up for Illini-Alert emergency messages. Those not affiliated with the university can receive Illini-Alert messages by texting “Follow IlliniAlert” to 40404.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is protected by a full-time sworn law enforcement agency and has long-established relationships and mutual aid agreements with the cities of Champaign and Urbana, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police and federal agencies. Most campus departments have worked with the University of Illinois Police Department to develop building emergency action plans, which assist and direct their unit’s response during a given emergency.
Additionally, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has established teams to intervene and assist with resources when an individual’s behavior is deemed to pose a threat to the campus community. This prevention measure and other policies are outlined in the Campus Violence Prevention Plan.
How to protect yourself
No two active threat situations unfold the same way, so individuals need to assess their situation and be prepared to make decisions in a matter of seconds. The techniques outlined in our Run, Hide, Fight directions can guide those decisions, and the tools we provide in our Three Minutes to Live class can help you feel more comfortable understanding active threats and leading evacuation or sheltering efforts should you find yourself in an emergency.
The most important thing you can do is prepare before the emergency strikes. When entering campus buildings, you should familiarize yourself with exits and routes of escape. Make a conscious personal decision regarding what your response would be in an emergency. As the emergency unfolds, remain calm. Resist the natural panic response and remember your mental rehearsal. Follow the Run, Hide, Fight directions, call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so, and render first aid to any injured people as long as you feel comfortable and can do so without risk to your own safety. If you are in a secure location, wait for police to come to you.
Do not approach police officers as they attempt to locate and eliminate the threat. Officers are trained to seek out and respond to the threat, which could include the use of deadly force. They may not able to assist with the evacuation or provide medical assistance to the injured. Once the threat has been eliminated, the officers will return immediately to organizing the evacuation of the facility and providing emergency medical assistance.
How to prevent an active threat
Report suspicious activity to the police. If something does not feel right, it probably is not. Police are happy to assist, even when it turns out to be nothing.
Early detection of individuals with severe stress or depression or who demonstrate odd or threatening behavior may be the best method for reducing the likelihood of active threat events. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has exceptional resources to assist people through the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (217-244-5312) or the University of Illinois Psychological Emergency Service (217-244-7911). Report any concerns to the appropriate person, which may include a supervisor, resident adviser, teaching assistant, professor, counselor, or the police.
Request a presentation
University of Illinois Police officers are available to speak to groups about prevention and mitigation of active threat events. To schedule a meeting with your group and an officer, call 217-333-1216.