Public Safety opens “Response to Violence” training sessions to students

By: Cameron Lareva

Assistant News Editor

Canisius College’s Public Safety is presenting their Response to Violence training sessions to students for the first time. In previous years these sessions have been reserved for only faculty and staff of the college.

Wil Johnson, director of public safety, explained the sessions are meant to, “give people some tools and make them start thinking, to make them start paying attention.” The sessions are not meant to be a breakdown of what to do for every type of emergency situation; instead the sessions are meant to give general advice that can be applied to situations of violence. The sessions are meant to get people thinking about a plan in case of an emergency situation. Johnson wants students and faculty to develop their own plans to be prepared.

The sessions are presented by Johnson. He utilizes a slideshow and video, followed by discussion. He wants the sessions to be open and productive through conversation and practical knowledge. Typically, the sessions run for about 45 minutes. The program is developed through a combination of the Run, Hide, Fight program and RAIN training. This system has been used for the past couple of years by Johnson. There are also two handouts given out that consist of acronyms to remind people of safety procedures and becoming aware of violent situations.

The turnouts tend to be small compared to the overall student and faculty populations. This year the highest turnout was 50 attendees, however, the session was the day after the Parkland shooting.

The last two years, the training sessions have also been given to orientation leaders and RAs. These were the first students to receive the training before it was opened to the general student body this year.  

Johnson wants students to attend these sessions, “to have a plan in your mind so if something happens, because the thing is this isn’t just for schools.”

Since Johnson has been at Canisius, the Department of Public Safety has performed active shooter training twice a year. The most recent training was over the break, in Old Main, for a five day session.

Johnson also mentioned that one thing that came out of recent training and campus analysis was that many classrooms don’t have locks inside the door. The college has now authorized the facilities department to start installing inside locking mechanisms on classroom doors. Johnson says the project has started in Old Main and is continuing across the campus.

There is only one more session that the Canisius community can attend for the year, on March 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Old Main 203 and Johnson encourages students and others to attend and it’s his goal to prepare as many people on this campus as he can, saying, “It’s sad, but it’s not a matter of if this is going to happen somewhere in the Buffalo region, it’s a matter of when.”



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