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MU officials discuss response plans after FSU shooting

Officials in Mid-Missouri are discussing response plans after three students are shot in Florida.

Exams and classes were cancelled at Florida State University Thursday after a gunman entered a library on the FSU campus early Thursday morning. There were 300-400 people inside the building at the time.

Abc 17 talked to MU’s chancellor and campus police about what plan they have in place to keep students safe on Mizzou’s campus in case of a similar emergency.

Right now, the university has an emergency alert system that can notify students, faculty ad staff of danger across campus in three different ways.

MUPD says the first is through about 250 beacons that are installed in classrooms, labs and hallways. In an emergency, they will flash strobe lights, sound siren alarms and display a message on screens about what happened and what area to avoid.

R. Bowen Loftin, MU Chancellor: “If we had a live shooter on campus or near the campus, if we had a situation where there were individuals who wished to harm people here, we can right away indicate where to get shelter, where to seek assistance. That’s our goal here.”

The alarms also have voice capability, where a prerecorded audio message can sound from the alarms in an emergency. MUPD says although that feature has not been used yet, it may be something they do in the future.

The second way is an alert screen that will pop up on computer desktops and laptops. MUPD says that feature has been downloaded on more than 15,000 computers.

And third, administrators can send out an alert from the university’s community message board through text messages, automated voice calls and the MUPD Facebook and Twitter pages to anyone who is signed up.

Capt. Scott Richardson: “We have about 70 percent of our students and our faculty staff signed up for emergency alerts. We’d like to see that at 100 percent. So we would love for them to go online, go to MU alert go on that web page, read the web page about how to sign up for emergency text alerts.”

Loftin says the emergency alert system is tested on a monthly basis.

MUPD says they have used it in the past to notify students and staff of tornado warnings, severe weather, class cancellations and other threats.

Richardson says if there was ever an active shooter on campus, MUPD has 36 officers that would be notified and respond quickly to the situation.

MUPD can also ask for assistance from Columbia police, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Richardson says MUPD officers and other law enforcement agencies in the community take an active-shooter training course about once a year. He says they go through the scenario using different tactics and techniques to figure out what to do in a real-life situation.

If you, or a student you know, would like to sign up for the MU alert system, you can find instructions of how to do so here.

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