Red Alert System to Recategorize “Active Shooter” Warning

Shane Shuma '22, Staff Writer

This year Dickinson’s Department of Public Safety has made changes regarding its Red Alert Emergency Notification System’s classification of active intruders and active shooters.

Under the previous system, students were notified of instances of active shooters and active intruders on campus through two separate and distinct Red Alert emails. This system has been revised so that now only one Red Alert email will be sent, covering both situations. These moves come amidst efforts by the college to increase awareness among the Dickinson community on how to respond to serious threats and utilize the Red Alert system.

Associate Director of Public Safety Michael Guido explained that this change centers around Dickinson’s Run, Fight, and Hide training. “‘Active Shooter’ may put people in the mindset that only a person with a gun would be the only reason Run-Hide-Fight would be utilized. The basis of the Run-Hide-Fight training is to have our community enhance their overall situational awareness which empowers them to do want they think is appropriate for survival,” he explained. “Run-Hide-Fight became the College’s standard response to active shooter incidents on campus when a new training module became a requirement for students, and now encompasses active intruder situations amidst changes in policy. The college’s focus on Run-Hide-Fight was inspired by both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security which both recommend those techniques in active shooter and intruder situations.”

Guido defines an active intruder as “a broad-based term that would encompass any situation or weapon where we wanted to alert our community to be aware of their surroundings and act in a manner to best serve them based on what they are experiencing in the moment.” DPS streamlined the definition not only to make it clear that Run-Hide-Fight tactics should be used in both instances, but also to remove differences to help avoid confusion while alerting students.

Any messages sent via the Red Alert system will be specific to each incident and provide supporting details, according to Assistant Vice President of Compliance Dee Danser.

Many students are unaware of current training or policy changes. Michael Kozinski ’21 said “I don’t read the alerts, but I’d like to know which threat specifically to respond to. Intruder versus active shooter are two different situations.”

Kyle Gimmy ‘22 said that his only problem with this system is how to differentiate between an intruder and a visitor on campus. “It’s kind of a blurred line, especially when considering something so dangerous,” he said.