ALBANY, N.Y. (August 16, 2007) -- In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the University Police Department at the University at Albany conducted its annual active shooter training simulation this week, in which members of the department practiced an "active shooter" scenario on campus. Each day-long session includes training as well as "live-fire" scenarios within some of the campus buildings and facilities in which the officers may be called upon to respond.
"The tragedy at Virginia Tech, in which 32 people were killed, highlighted the need for law enforcement, and in particular campus law enforcement, to train people in effective response to active shooter incidents and to manage major critical events that occur within our community," said J. Frank Wiley, Chief of the University Police Department.
During the training, officers were responsible for forming contact teams that respond to, localize, and contain any aggressors. Officers utilize handguns and rifles that fire plastic pellets but are otherwise similar to the duty weapons they carry everyday. Training not only incorporates team movement but also safe weapon deployment, loading and re-loading duty firearms, weapon transition, use of force continuum, the possible use of explosive devices by aggressor(s) and situational awareness -- all during an encounter with one or more aggressors. Officers from both departments trained together to develop our ability deliver coordinated effective response in an active shooter incident.
As the primary back-up for the University Police, police officers from the City of Albany Police Department also participated in this training. The course was developed by University Police instructors and certified by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The University at Albany University Police Department has been training its officers in Immediate Action Response to Active Shooter Incidents since 2000, training that, since 2006, has included deployment of patrol rifles and "live-fire" exercises.
In addition to immediate action response training, the University Police have completed training in the National Incident Management System -- NIMS -- (Incident Command System). NIMS is a national program designed to bring all stakeholders together in a coordinated fashion to manage any critical incident. Stakeholders include police, fire and EMS but also other community resources and groups, both within the campus and throughout the surrounding community. In addition to training officers, instructors have prepared UAlbany administrators, as well as police departments and other staff throughout the SUNY system.
The University at Albany University Police Department is a full time, full service police department serving the University community. The department consists of 70 members with 39 sworn police officers and 31 civilian staff. Sworn staff includes a patrol unit, an investigations unit and command staff. Civilian staff is divided primarily into administration, communications and security services units.