UT Austin students say they want more active shooter training

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — In order to prepare students and staff for possible mass shootings, the University of Texas at Austin Police Department holds public safety training on campus. They have the curriculum down; now they want more eyes to see it.

Most of the training is by request.

This is the first-semester UTPD has opened the “Run, Hide, Fight” seminars up to the public on campus. Eighty-nine people have enrolled in the November 11-13 training in the Avaya Auditorium in the Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Building.

According to UTPD, between 10 to 30 people have attended each of the three classes this semester. The livestreams tallied 132 total views, 31 when the event was live.

UTPD has held 15 private requested presentations since September 24.

Senior at UT Austin, Alyce Gonzalez didn’t know the University offered training to respond to active shooters. She thinks the University should require it in the coursework as they do for sexual assault and alcohol training.

“Tf they don’t complete it then they can’t have access to their grades at a certain point. So maybe making it a more incentive that way. Getting it out there and having everybody complete it,” said Gonzalez.

This was the first year UT trained all 7,000 incoming undergrads at freshman orientation. Guadalupe Gomez remembers it but wants it reinforced through his time at UT.

“We’ve had bank robberies or people carrying machetes. You know it’s something that happens on a regular basis,” said Gomez.

Sgt. Hector Luevano led the discussion Monday. He says next semester they’re going to try and get it into more specific venues where students gather naturally – like dorms. Also, he hopes to establish a more routine and more available schedule, like evenings after classes.

“They have a busy schedule and figuring out when the best time is to work with them so we can get a bigger audience,” said Luevano.

Students who attend seminars are automatically enrolled in the Everbridge emergency text alert system. It currently has 61,785 people on the text list for emergencies.

Staff is weighing different options to get the training in front of more people, including doing training at night to avoid class conflicts, bringing training locations to more crowded areas of campus, increasing advertising on social media, and creating and promoting an active shooter response landing page online.

All 7,000 students in each summer orientation class are required to go through the training.

Hector Luevano leads Team Two on UTPD’s Public Order Division. That special unit leads the seminar and is also the team responsible for responding to active threats on UT-Austin’s campus. The team just began in August and have weekly training.

UTPD also allows groups to schedule private training if they prefer. The department also hosts training on simple ways to address personal safety, alcohol laws and impairment, and preventing theft.  

All UT freshmen are also required to attend a safety presentation during orientation on what steps to take during active shooter events.

Look for more on this story on KXAN News at 5 p.m.

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