CRASE courses offered by Tarleton Police Department

By Kelsey Poynor—

Multimedia Journalist

Since the initial 1999 Columbine High School shooting, the numbers of mass shootings in schools and universities across the United States has increased drastically. Due to this constant rise in mass shootings, many establishments such as Tarleton State University have implemented different guidelines and programs to educate faculty, staff, business owners and the general public how to respond to active shooting events.

Patrol Sergeant Clell Murray of Tarleton State University’s Police Department has attended multiple training courses in San Marcos, put on by Active Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT). The most recent courses were “train-the-trainer” style for active shooter events. The courses are offered to any law enforcement, EMS and firefighters across the nation.

“This is how they train us, as officers, to respond to an active shooter event. It’s the industry standard right now. The training is nationwide and even the feds picked it up,” said Murray.

Murray attended the ALERRT training in light of the Civilian Response to Active Shooting Event (CRASE) courses that he and Tarleton Police Chief Matt Welch have been teaching and will continue teaching on the Tarleton campus. Murray and Welch have already conducted five courses over the fall 2015 semester for faculty and staff.

Murray shows and explains how to take a gun away from an active shooter.
Video by Ashley Ford

“The CRASE courses cover basic stuff, such as what you need to do if an active shooter event occurs in your building. It’s mainly geared to those who are not armed, who are stuck in a building, and teaches you what exactly you should do in that situation. It helps you pre-plan what to do to help survive that event,” said Murray.

Murray explained that the program educates those who attend to avoid, deny and defend themselves in these situations.

“Avoid the active shooter if you can. Lock the doors, bolt them, barricade and get out. If you can hit the fire alarm as you go, it will cause a police response. As soon as you’re away, call 911. If you can’t get away and think the shooter might hear, call 911 and leave the phone off of the cradle,” he said.

“As a last resort, defend yourself,” Murray continued. “Attack. Anything can be used as a weapon. What we suggest is wasp spray. It has a long reach and won’t contaminate the air around you like pepper spray does. Wasp spray has a pretty severe effect and must be medically treated. If sprayed in the eye, you will lose your eye sight. It’s pretty severe, but if an attacker coming in trying to harm you, you have to do something about it. If you commit to defend, you can’t just go half way.”

Throughout the CRASE courses, videos of active shooter event survivors are played.

“Some of them are pretty emotional, so we like to give everyone a heads up. They do a reenactment of the Columbine shooting, which started all of this. You hear the actual audio from the video for the reenactment,” said Murray.

“One of the things we talk about in the class is denial. People don’t want to believe that it’s going to happen here or that is going to happen around them,” he continued.

Murray believes that, no matter one’s opinion, school shootings are always a possibility. “But, it’s a candidate for any place that you have emotionally-charged people. We’re a target for Islamic extremist too, and as much as people want to deny it, it’s coming, and it’s coming here,” said Murray.

Having an understanding of what to do in these active shooter situations is the overall goal of the CRASE courses.

“If you do a ‘what if’ scenario in your head and have a pre-conceived plan, it doesn’t take you as long to respond or react to something,” said Murray.

“I’m trying to find a neutral location for a class for the general public,” said Murray.

Until then, CRASE courses will continue to be held and offered to faculty, staff and to different departments throughout the Tarleton Stephenville campus.

Since the recent talk about the CRASE courses, Kent Styron, Director of Risk Management and Compliance, confirms that the Risk Management and Compliance department has recently received approval to begin searching for an Emergency Management/Special Projects Coordinator.

“The successful candidate’s primary focus will be emergency management but will provide assistance with special projects that arise at Tarleton,” Styron said.

The search to fill this position is now in progress.

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