Examining Ferris’ school shooting protocols

"Chance favors the prepared mind," Abe Haroon said

The U.S. has had 2,032 school shootings since 1970, according to Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization that focuses on gun violence prevention. Because these numbers are increasing, it’s important for students to know the active shooter protocols.

Abe Haroon, Director of Ferris’ Department of Public Safety, believes that “chance favors the prepared mind” and is actively working to keep the school safe.

“The more education and training that I’m able to apply to everyone here at Ferris, the better the outcome is going to be in an event such as an active shooter,” Haroon said.

Although Ferris had to suspend attack training provided by officers, Haroon plans on bringing the combat training back. The training involves educating people about the warning signs of an at-risk person and strategies on how to proceed. Along with self-defense training videos.  

“It’s important that everyone has a part where they’re doing their due diligence to report areas of concern. If you see something, say something,” Haroon said.  

Along with encouraging students to watch out for possible attacks and report them, the director also urges everyone on campus to sign up for the mass notification alerts sent through text messages. These can be found by going to the Ferris Department of Public Safety’s website and searching for the emergency alerts tab. A link to MyFSU will come up, where you’ll be able to sign up and receive notifications about sensitive campus safety issues, closings due to weather and other disruptions.  

The department has undergone some changes since the shift in power to ensure everyone on campus is safe. There have been quite a few precautions Haroon has taken to prevent attacks in his first week on the job. 

“We took a lot of steps in order to take corrective measures,” Haroon said. “The push bars on the doors were all removed. We looked at how the layout of classrooms were and changed things there. We actually had FBI members come in and do an analysis of the campus to determine if we were taking the right safety precautions, and they gave us a lot of recommendations.”  

Mechanical engineering technician sophomore Matthew Diamond believes that, in the moment of finding out there’s an active shooter, fight or flight kicks in. 

“In a moment like that [when] you hear a gunshot, you’re concerned with one thing, and that is how do I stay alive? It’s the truest fight or flight response you could have,” Diamond said. 

Criminal justice sophomore Chris Kessler suggests that having more officers on campus would be more precautionary and ensure better safety. 

 “I don’t know how fast a response would be from officers. We have like two public safety cars driving around, that’s it. If something happens on the other side of campus, people could get hurt,” Kessler said.

On the other side of the spectrum, clerical orientation team leader and early childhood development junior Addy Jarrett believes that statewide procedures are enough to keep people safe. 

“It’s a scary thought to think about someone on campus trying to hurt others, but I know Ferris is prepared and has good protocols that would be put into action and protect as many people as possible,” Jarrett said.  

With that being said, the best way to feel comfortable with the idea of a possible attacker on campus is to know the procedures to follow. Stay informed on Ferris’ protocols, sign up to receive important campus alerts and watch out for possible at-risk people.  

The first recommendation Ferris urges students to do is run, so it’s important to know where the emergency exits are. If you cannot get out, hide. Locate a safe room, turn off all lights, lock or block any entryways into the room, silence your cell phone and hide outside of the shooter’s view. If you cannot hide or are discovered, you are urged to fight back as a last resort. The department of public safety has a plethora of helpful videos about self-defense located on Ferris’ website. 

With young leadership in the community, including Brain Miller’s second year as sheriff, Haroon stepping into his first year as Director of Public Safety and Danielle Haynes with a year and a half as chief of police, Haroon believes that the future safety of Ferris looks bright. 

“It’s nice that we have this younger group of leadership in law enforcement right now. The dynamics are good, the relationships are strong, which only benefits the community,” Haroon said.