Active shooter program educates campus

Allison Mueller

Cheney Mason / Winonan

ALICE, a tactical program that provides education on what to do during an active shooter situation, will be made available to Winona State University students, faculty and staff beginning Feb. 25 and 26. The program is being introduced to the university through a partnership between the Winona County Sheriff’s Department and Winona State University Security.

According to Winona County Sheriff’s Deputy John Hazelton, the course name stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

“It gives people options of how to act,” Hazelton said, adding this is an alternative to the “lockdown only” approach.

The classes will be open to students and faculty for free from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb., 25 and 26, and March, 25 and March 26, in Minné Hall, room 103 on the Winona State campus.

Hazelton will lead the courses, and said he has 15 years of active shooter teaching experience, teaching in schools in Winona County and for private companies.

Hazelton said the class will teach people how to

act in this stressful situation and how to survive and be prepared if this event were to occur anywhere on campus.

“It empowers the individual of how to act and has proven to be very effective,” Hazelton said. “The old ways just aren’t effective anymore.”

The class consists of a portion explaining concepts, but the majority of the program will be spent role-playing various situations and scenarios, Hazelton said.

“We want to teach people to be aware of surroundings,” Hazelton said. “The worst thing to do is freeze in a situation, and self-training helps with [not] freezing.”

Chris Chichosz, director of Winona State Security, explained how after scenarios there will be a group discussion regarding the experiences everyone had.

“It’s pretty valuable to get to see it through other people’s eyes that are in there with you doing the same thing,” Chichosz said. “Everyone experiences different things in the same situation.”

Chichosz said there will be blank shots fired for the effect of making a situation seem more real at the point in time and to give people a chance to hear what the sound is actually like.

“It’s a concern we are not taking lightly,” Chichosz said. “It’s not to scare people or do anything like that.”

Chichosz said he wants this service to be used as a tool for students and faculty to have and use over the course of their lifetime.

Through the actions in the class, Chichosz said attendees will be more engaged with what they are learning to apply to real situations.

“I think it’s important to not only do a classroom portion, but I feel it’s more beneficial to actually get up and actually do it,” Chichosz said. “It’s not a static environment there’s actually some stress going on, because that’s what it’s going to be like in real life.”

The classes are focusing on how attendees would react and think to this kind of situation and what it would be like.

“You can think about, ‘Often times I do this,’ but until you’re actually in a situation where the stress levels up a little bit, you really don’t know how exactly you will react,” Chichosz said.

Hazelton said other schools and colleges are adapting the ALICE program as well, as it begins to gain more popularity.

Attendees can sign up for this program at Winona State by using the link in an all university email sent by Security on Thursday, Feb. 9 and Monday, Feb. 20.

By Cheney Mason