Emergency response exercises to be conducted on campus

Topic: Administrative

July 3, 2008

Ten regional law enforcement and emergency response agencies will conduct a series of exercises the week of July 7 to better prepare the participants and Ball State in the event of an emergency. University police will coordinate the training sessions on Monday (July 7), Tuesday (July 8) and Friday (July 11), said Chief Gene Burton, adding that each scenario will focus on an "active shooter" roaming parts of campus.

Although limited in the details he can disclose, Burton indicated the comprehensive, all-day simulations will take place in the vicinity of the Johnson complex residence halls and Worthen Arena and will attempt to reproduce different types of critical incidents "from the initial 911 call to the 'all clear.'"

In addition to Ball State police, the Delaware County sheriff, Muncie and Ball Memorial Hospital police departments will be involved in the training, along with officers and supervisors from the Yorktown, Kokomo, Peru and Goshen police departments. Emergency crews from Delaware County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the Center Township Fire Department also will participate.

According to Ball State's head of safety and security, it is the first time such training will take place on campus.

"I think we're all aware of some of the new challenges faced by university police departments and their local supporting agencies," said Burton, taking note of the recent shooting tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. "We don't want to alarm anyone, of course, but responsibility demands that we take prudent steps to be ready in case something like this should ever occur. We pray that it never does, but still we need to be prepared.

Other select Ball State departments and offices will monitor the sessions to learn how developing events in a crisis situation may affect the university's efforts to communicate important information to students, faculty and staff, Burton said. Ball State has implemented a multichannel approach to alerting the campus community in a weather-related or other emergency, including mobile phone text messaging as well as e-mail and voice messages to nearly every campus mailbox and telephone.

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