Training, plans in place to respond to active threats

URBANA, Illinois – The University of Illinois Police Department is heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred Monday evening at Michigan State University, and is grateful for the work of the Michigan State University Police and Public Safety and other first responders. UIPD extends its heartfelt support to the entire MSU community.

After an emergency or tragedy occurs elsewhere, it is normal to want to know what local authorities are doing to prevent or respond to a similar situation here.

It’s also important to know how to protect yourself if you are ever faced with a situation where your safety depends on your ability to react quickly.

For those reasons, the University of Illinois Police Department is sharing information and resources with the campus community focusing on how our campus prevents or responds to violence, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe in an emergency.

What UIPD does

  • Prevention and participation in threat assessment: The Campus Violence Prevention Plan outlines the specific steps and resources available to identify problematic behaviors before they manifest as violence. The University of Illinois Police Department shares information and resources with Threat Assessment Teams to make sure the campus is taking a holistic and comprehensive approach.
  • Training: All University Police officers regular complete active threat response training, and the most recent session happened this past August at an on-campus location. These training events based on real-life scenarios help officers increase their skills on how to approach a threat, how they move through buildings and what the “driving factors” are that compel officers to move more quickly in an active threat or active shooter situation. Additional training is completed in a simulator at the police department.
  • Emergency planning: Emergency Management at the Division of Public Safety prepares lots of plans – among those are Building Emergency Action Plans (BEAPs), which outline how people in a particular building are notified of an emergency, what the roles and responsibilities are, and how to address continuing operations beyond the emergency. Included in these plans are Run-Hide-Fight scenarios, and Emergency Management department staff provide training on the BEAP itself and how to respond in an emergency.
  • Annual tabletop exercise: Every year, the Division of Public Safety gets together with other campus stakeholders and neighboring police, fire and EMS agencies to conduct a tabletop exercise that is designed to stress and identify gaps in the campus’s emergency plans. If any gaps are identified, those are corrected before the next test. The annual exercise also allows public safety leaders to get together — without the stress of a real-life event — to collaborate and coordinate response scenarios.

What you can do

  • Run, Hide, Fight. Understanding the Run, Hide, Fight principles can reduce your risk of being harmed in all kinds of emergencies – like severe weather, fires, or active shooter situations just to name a few. It only takes a couple of minutes to learn.
  • Understand your BEAP. Work with your facilities manager and floor coordinator to be familiar with your building’s emergency action plans.
  • Sign up for Illini-Alert text messages. The Division of Public Safety shares real-time emergency information and instructions via Illini-Alert. Everyone with an email address is automatically signed up for email notifications, but it is important also to sign up for text messages. If you have a NetID, you can sign up at Everyone else can text “IlliniAlert” to 226787.
  • Report suspicious or concerning behavior (see something, say something). If students, faculty or staff observe troubling behavior – especially if threats are made – those should be reported to the school or police immediately. Those reports are shared with Threat Assessment Teams so the appropriate action can be taken, depending on the circumstances.

It is important to realize that certain kinds of emergencies – active threats included – are not always preventable. While there’s a low likelihood that you will be personally affected, it’s important to prepare and understand how police respond so that you can do everything possible to protect yourself and others.