EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — In an effort to improve already extensive emergency protocols, the Michigan State University Police Department is reviewing a report of a person with a gun that turned out to be a false alarm.
Police sent out emergency text alerts at 1 p.m. Monday after someone reported seeing a person with a gun near Ernst Bessey Hall on campus. Police found that person was an ROTC member carrying a replica weapon and cancelled the alert within minutes.
“Thank God it was a false situation,” MSU instructor Lori Jackson said. “But I promise you, none of us knew that.”
The students in her accounting class pushed their desks against the door to make entry difficult and attempted to make the classroom appear unoccupied.
“We decided if we did nothing we would be sitting ducks, so we decided to protect ourselves.” Jackson said.
“She did exactly the right thing, but we need people to start thinking about what they need to do in advance of an active shooter situation taking place,” MSU Police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said.
Since August, MSU police have trained over 6,000 faculty and staff how to respond to an active shooter. In addition, the university’s police force is utilizing social media and the power of mobile devices to communicate.
“How quickly someone receives that information depends upon their service,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “That’s why, if we have over 60,000, 68,000 devices, you may not get it but the person sitting next to you may get it. So they can tell you that information.”
Police say the Monday false alarm is evidence that the system works. Within four minutes of the original 911 call, a text alert was sent out.
Now, police say, it’s time to examine the incident in detail.
“We always want our community to be safe. We always want to respond to the best of our ability. And so we go through and we review what happened and what we can do better,” McGlothian-Taylor said.
Lori Jackson would probably like to stick to teaching accounting rather than survival, but her class certainly learned something Monday.
“Nobody was screaming. Nobody was crying. People were scared — we were all scared — but nobody panicked because we stuck together,” Jackson said.
MSU says anyone who wishes to report suspicious behavior on campus can text MSUPD with their message to 274637.