Winona State security addresses active shooter protocol

Allison Mueller

Cheney Mason/Winonan

Director of Security Donald Walski recognizes a large number of students in the event of an emergency such as a shooting would not know proper protocol.

“In the event of an active shooter, most students freeze up,” Walski said.

The recent shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseville, Ore. has been raising alarm an active shooting could happen at any school across the country.

Later in the week, at Northern Arizona University, a student killed and wounded peers during a fight. And there was another shooting at a housing complex near Texas Southern University, which has left the country on high alert and in debate over gun control.

Winona State has an emergency procedures pamphlet for students.

“If shots are fired, notify the Winona Police Department immediately by calling 911,” Walski said.

The pamphlet also provides information regarding actions taken in the event of an active shooter, “lockdown, escape, evade and confronting the shooter.”

Walski explained the importance of contacting security in an emergency such as an active shooter because this act could save the life of many students in danger.

“I am a certified instructor for active shooters, so I give classes on campus for that,” Walski said. “In the class we go over what to do and what not to do.”

Walski said he holds these classes to ensure Winona State students’ education on protocol and proper safety in the event of the emergency.

“We want to get people to start to think about what they would do in the situation,” Walski said. “A lot of kids would just sit there and not know what to do.”

Winona State’s Star Alert system is the main way students can be immediately notified of an emergency with a text directly to their cell phone. The alerts are also sent via email. To be registered for Star Alert, students have to become connected with the system and register a phone number.

“We encourage students to do that but I think only about 220 have done it,” Walski said.

Star Alert set up can be found on Winona State’s website

“There are five of us that can send out star alerts in an emergency,” Walski said.

If weapons are found around campus, it is critical to report to the Winona State Security and wait for help to arrive, Walski said. Winona State Security guaranteees all safety measures are taken in the event of an emergency.