Coahoma Holds Active Threat Training, Elevates Safety Efforts

Run. Hide. Fight. Those were the three basic concepts that Coahoma Community College faculty and staff members were introduced to in a recent active threat training.

Coahoma Holds Active Threat Training, Elevates Safety Efforts

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Marriel Hardy

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Wed Jan 29, 2020

Run. Hide. Fight. Those were the three basic concepts that Coahoma Community College faculty and staff members were introduced to in a recent active threat training.

Held in the Zee A. Barron Student Union’s Magnolia Room, attendees received valuable and life-saving knowledge regarding the proper steps to take in the event of an active threat situation. The training was facilitated by MSgt. Will Rooker of the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

“It used to be a question of could this happen (mass violent act)? Would it happen here? It can’t happen here. But it has gotten to become so frequent that the question is not if it's going to happen. But when,” said Rooker.

Rooker serves as the Public Affairs Officer and is the “community contact” point for the Sheriff’s Office. Rooker handles news media inquiries and makes routine announcements to the media about items of interest involving the Sheriff’s Office.

“Run. Hide. Fight. Those are some of the most important things you can remember during an active threat situation. You will never know who it is until it happens,” Rooker added.

By the end of 2019, there were 417 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country. Thirty-one of those shootings were mass murders, and forty-five happened at a school or institution of higher learning.

With acts of violence happening more frequently, especially at educational locations, the training was seen as an essential need on the Coahoma campus.

“You never know. It could be anyone. So, you don’t know who and you don’t know when a situation can happen,” stated Rooker. “What you have to do is be prepared for if it does. You have to be aware of your surroundings, be aware of sounds, be aware of what other people are doing in your area. It is the smallest things that you do not pay attention to that could mean the difference between life and death.”

Coahoma Community College President Dr. Valmadge T. Towner closed the training, giving updates on the institution’s plans to increase safety and awareness.

“We will follow up with departmental meetings and talk more specifically about what to do in particular campus areas," said Towner. “We will also be implementing a coloring or leveling system. So, when something happens, a certain level can be assigned, signaling the severity level.”

Towner noted that some changes have come about by suggestions from members of the campus community and welcomed more as he sees campus-wide involvement as a critical need in creating a safer campus community.

“If you have suggestions, please bring them forward. We have a number of people here who are certified police officers who bring a wealth of experience and expertise. We have a group of persons who are members of our safety team who we are depending on as well,” Towner added. “So, it is crucial how we handle things.”

The Coahoma Community College Department of Campus Safety provides the first line of defense for students, faculty and staff for on and off-campus buildings and sites. The department’s overall goal is to provide an environment that is safe, less threatening, and conducive to teaching and learning.

The Department of Safety can be contacted in all cases of emergencies at (662) 621-4175 (office) and after hours (662) 645-1837. The department is located in the Dickerson-Johnson Library (1st floor). Officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.