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Active Shooter Response and Training

The UHCL Police Department is implementing enhancements to improve its communication procedures; provide situation-specific instructions for students, faculty and staff; and supplement overall classroom and building security measures. We remain committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for UHCL. If you have any questions about our Active Shooter Preparedness and Resources, or any other security concerns, please email us at #STAYSAFEUHCL

The UHCL Police Department will conduct Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event (CRASE) training, which will include approximately four classes per semester. These classes are open to all students, faculty and staff on a walk-in basis. We are also available for campus groups upon request. Send an email to or call 281-283-2224 to set up a training day and time.

Special Accommodations

If you need special accommodations for a disability to participate in training, contact the UHCL Police Department at 281-283-2222 or at least one week prior to the event to make arrangements.

Civilian response to an active shooter event (courtesy of Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center)

Active Shooter Defined

The National Tactical Officers Association defines "active shooter" as one or more subjects who participate in a random or systematic shooting spree, demonstrating their intent to continuously harm others. An active shooter's overriding objective appears to be that of mass murder, rather than criminal conduct such as robbery, kidnapping, etc. The definition of an active shooter can include any assault with a deadly weapon, causing a mass homicide. The history of active shooter incidents is very dynamic, and no procedures or guidelines can cover every aspect.

An active shooter incident may quickly become a hostage or barricade situation, or vice versa. When an individual has arrived on a campus with the means and motivation to commit a shooting spree, statistics indicate that they are likely to continue their action until they are confronted by a greater force.

Most active shooter incidents were committed by a lone assailant, but some involved multiple assailants. Many active shooter incidents occurred in extreme close quarters while a few occurred at longer distances by a sniper.

If you're ever in public and think you hear gunshots, assume it's gunshots and respond accordingly. If you think you see someone with a weapon, assume they have a weapon, even if you're not sure. Trust your intuition. Remaining calm and using common sense will increase your ability to survive a critical incident like this.


There are many ways to avoid being seen or injured by a person with a weapon:

  • Create distance: Immediately, upon the sight or sound of an active shooter or person with a weapon, create as much cover or distance between you and that person as possible. This may allow you to completely escape the area, or seek refuge in a classroom or office and lock down.
  • Use cover or concealment: Cover is an object or structure that can prevent the penetration of a fired bullet (thick metal, concrete, brick, large trees, vehicle engines, etc.). Concealment is used to hide from someone's sight. Concealment may also provide cover, but many times, it does not (drapes, cardboard box, sheetrock, desks, chairs, bushes, etc.).
  • Know their location: Knowing the location of the assailant will be the primary factor in deciding whether to escape or lock down. Is the assailant in the immediate area? Is the assailant inside or outside, upstairs, downstairs or on your floor? If you can avoid the assailant and safely escape, do it.
  • Know your surroundings: Knowing the floor plan of the building you're in prior to a critical incident will help in your decision to escape or lock down. Where are all the exits to the building? Are the windows functioning to allow you to escape? Can you break a window to create an escape route? Where are all the stairwells, and where do they lead?
  • Create a safe environment: Time and distance from the assailant create a safer environment. Stay away from long hallways that don't provide cover, rooms that you can't properly secure or barricade, and wide-open areas.
  • Learn how to move: Using a leap-frog, bound-and-cover, or serpentine technique may assist you during your escape, but remember to keep moving; it's much more difficult to shoot at and hit a moving target than a stationary one.
Lock Down and Deny

A lockdown may be instructed during situations, such as the presence of a hostile or armed intruder inside a building. A lockdown requires locking doors and windows, and barricading yourself to block entry to a campus facility, a classroom or an office suite. The term "lockdown" is often confused with "shelter in place," which involves responding to a threat posed by atmospheric contamination.

Due to the varying levels of construction and architectural design of the buildings on campus, one classroom or office may provide more security than another. Interior walls built with steel, concrete or brick will provide more cover than ones built with sheetrock. Inward opening doors can be barricaded to prevent intrusion while outward opening doors can't. Solid core doors provide more concealment and protection than ones that are hollow or have windows.

If you can't immediately and safely escape, lock down in the nearest safe classroom or office, and deny the assailant access.

  • Lock and/or barricade the door: If the door opens inward, find something heavy that can be used as a wedge underneath it, even if the door doesn't have a lock. Push the object as far as it will go under the door. Then, use all available heavy and large items in the room to barricade the door.
  • Move to an area out of the field of fire: This is important, in case shots are fired through the door. A single desk or chair will likely not prevent the penetration of most bullets, although several strategically stacked tables, desks and chairs may lessen the velocity of a bullet, thereby reducing the potential for serious injury.
  • Make the room as dark and quiet as possible: Remain calm and try not to make a sound. Silence all electronic devices that may alert the assailant of your location.
  • Keep the door closed: Do not open the door for anyone except identifiable law enforcement personnel.
  • Consider escaping through window openings: Depending on the assailant's location, you may consider escaping through the window. Have someone stand watch as you get as many people out of the windows as calmly and as quietly as possible. It's not recommended to escape through windows above the second floor; even jumping from second floor window heights may cause serious injury.
  • Treat any wounds: If there are injured persons while in lockdown, treat their wounds. Remember basic first aid concepts. If a first aid kit or bandages are not available, use any available resources within the room.
  • Formulate an action plan: Make a plan with the people in the room, should the assailant breach the door and enter. You may need to counter the assailant's actions and defend yourself. Locate any available objects that may be used as diversionary devices or weapons.
Alert and Notify

Whether your immediate action is to escape or lock down, alert as many people as possible of the incident, and warn them to avoid the dangerous area.

Call 911, but be aware that the 911 system may be overwhelmed. Program UHCLPD's 24-hour emergency number (281-283-2222) into your cell phone. Always notify the police department as soon as it is safe to do so.

What to report:

  • Your specific location and building name and office or room number
  • Number of people at your specific location
  • Number of injured people and types of injuries
  • Number of assailants and their location
  • Number and types of weapons involved (handgun, shotgun, rifle, improvised explosive device, etc.)
  • Assailant's physical description
  • Assailant's ethnicity and gender
  • Assailant's clothing description
  • Assailant's identity, if known
  • Assailant's verbal demands or threats
Defend and Counter
  • If you encounter the assailant: Action is quicker than reaction. If the assailant isn't shooting, you may decide to do what they say, although it's likely that the time for compliance and negotiation has already passed. Only you can draw the line on what you will or will not do to preserve your life or the lives of others.
  • If the assailant is shooting or starts shooting: You'll need to make a choice (at this point, it's your choice). You can stay still and hope they don't shoot you, run for an exit while zigzagging, or attack the shooter. If you choose to remain still, the shooter might not shoot you. If you choose to run, remember that a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one. If you choose to attack, keep in mind that the last thing the shooter will expect is to be attacked by an unarmed person(s). However, keep in mind that all of these options can be very dangerous, resulting in a negative consequence.
  • If the assailant is among your group: Remember there is strength in numbers. If you and the people with you have made the decision to defend yourselves and counter the assailant, you should cause distractions to the assailant's intended thought process.
    • Create as much noise and movement as possible.
    • Throw objects at the shooter's face.
      • The goal is to distract the shooter and decrease their ability to accurately shoot a weapon at the people in the room.
    • Take control of the shooter.
      • While the shooter is distracted, have four people grab and secure a limb (each arm and leg), and one person grab and secure their head, if possible.
      • Each person should use their body weight or strength on each limb to hold the shooter down until law enforcement arrives.

This is not a recommendation to attack the shooter but rather a response option to fight when there is only one other alternative.

Police Intervention

UHCLPD's overriding objective is to quickly locate the assailant and stop the killing by all means necessary. To do this, the first responding officers will bypass the wounded. More officers will arrive to attend to the injured once the assailant has been neutralized.

When encountering law enforcement personnel, do exactly as they tell you. Leave your personal belongings behind and carry nothing in your hands. Keep your hands visible to the officers at all times. Do not make any sudden movements or gestures.

If you have real-time, pertinent information about the incident or assailant, tell the responding officers. Officers may ask additional questions.

You will be directed to a safe area away from the critical incident where follow-up medical care and counseling will be initiated.

Follow-up interviews and a complete investigation will be conducted.