MSU Prepared For UT Style Incident

In the wake of the UT Shooting, Newschannel 6 is asking tough questions about Midwestern State University's readiness to handle such a situation.

The first step to being ready is a preventative measure. MSU Police Chief Dan Williams is a member of a group called the behavioral intervention team. He explains how it works "Maybe there's a roommate that has a buddy of his that has talked about suicide. They get worried they contact (the behavioral intervention team), we line out a course of action we then bring that suspect student in and try to get them involved in counseling to try and head it off before it ever gets to that point."

Audra Ray is a Masters-level Psychologist and Licensed Professional Councilors. Currently, she is working on another degree in Nursing at MSU. Upon hearing the news of Tuesday's shooting, she thought of emotional difficulties faced by young students. "I think that there is a lot of psychological problems in the World. I think a lot of people need some help at different times and I think that when you are younger and in school you are more stressed." Ray says the best advice for those in distress, and especially those who may be aware of another's troubles, is to speak out. "Relationships are important and if you know someone that is struggling really talk to them and try to point them in the direction to get some help."

The hope is to prevent a situation like Austin saw Tuesday. If someone falls through the cracks and does go on a shooting rampage, MSU Police are trained and ready to respond. "Since the Columbine incident, the thinking on how (law enforcement) handle(s) these kinds of things has totally changed. Used to, you set-up perimeters and waited on SWAT. Now, you put together preferably a 4 man team... the goal is to get in there and stop that threat as quick as possible.", said Williams.

Williams took over as Chief of Police at MSU in the Summer of 2010. Since his arrival, his department has not conducted specific active-shooter training, but he says it is a high priority to him.

There are systems in place to help in emergency situations. The campus has emergency call boxes. At the touch of a button, one can be connected with the MSU Police. The system can also work in reverse. Each call box has a loudspeaker, so the dispatchers can communicate with those in earshot.

If not in reach of a box, the Public can still be alerted to dangers via a system called MSU Alert. That system sends out SMS Text messages and e-mails to those who subscribe. In the past, the system has been employed to alert about inclimate weather. Williams says that in a situation such as an active shooter on campus, the system would be utilized to give subscribers a heads-up.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6

 Click the link to the left to be directed to the MSU Alert Web site.