Dallas College Police Chief Discusses Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

​​Feb. 16, 2018

Dallas College Community -

As we reflect upon and are saddened by the tragedy in Parkland, Florida this week, we are reminded of the need to be prepared and equipped to deal with the possibility of confronting an active shooter situation. We know and understand that grappling with the realities of situations such as these, and the possibility that they could occur virtually anywhere in our society today, is both upsetting and frightening. However, we also know that being prepared, both mentally and physically, and being ready to respond appropriately are good practices for coping with an active shooter situation.

The Parkland tragedy is evidence that the threat and reality of dealing with an active shooter both on and off our campuses is a continuing hazard for our society. With that fact in mind, the College wants to assure you that the safety and security of our students, faculty, administrators and staff, as well as the communities we serve, is our highest priority. Law enforcement professionals in the Dallas College Department of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) are dedicated to training and working to be as prepared as possible for the situations which may arise on our campuses and other College locations, including an active shooter. In addition to law enforcement, however, it is important that each of us realizes that we have an important role to play in trying to lessen, or mitigate, harm to our community.

  • If you witness an act of violence on Dallas College property, and it is safe to do so, you should immediately report it to the Dallas College Police or a local law enforcement agency by calling or texting 911. Provide as many details as you can about what you saw or heard and your current location. Do not assume that someone else has called – you may have new information for the police.
  • As you may know from your active shooter training, there are steps you should take to protect yourself if an active shooter is in your vicinity:
    • Search for an exit: Do what you can to get to a safe place. Leave the area in the opposite direction from any shooter if it is possible to do so.
    • Find a place to hide: If you cannot leave, turn out the lights in the room you are in, lock or barricade the door and hide until help arrives. Avoid hallways, turn your cell phone to silent, and remain as quiet as possible.
    • End the threat: This step is a last resort when you have no other option: this is a life-or-death situation. In this scenario, you have no other option but to FIGHT and attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter in any way you can. If you choose this option, DO NOT hesitate and be decisive.

Law enforcement professionals who have been addressing ways in which to train civilians to deal with active shooter scenarios now embrace the above approach, which addresses the options that should be considered by someone who is confronting an active shooter situation. The City of Houston Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security collaborated to produce the video “Run. Hide. Fight.® Surviving an Active Shooter Event.” You can watch the video by using the link below. DPSS and I recommend it to all of you; it will help you understand what you should and should not do in the event you are confronted by an active shooter.

Please note that this video contains graphic depictions of violent acts and may be disturbing or unsettling to some viewers.

Our law enforcement professionals also want to stress the importance of “See Something, Say Something®!” We all have an obligation as citizens and members of the Dallas College community to advise law enforcement and engage with others on our campuses to let them know about anything that we believe might pose a present or imminent danger. If you see something you know should not be there or observe behavior that does not seem quite right, say something!

In addition, Dallas College is continuously working to be prepared and ready to address an active shooter scenario should the situation arise. In an effort to enhance our readiness and preparedness, our College has taken these steps:

  • The College has consolidated the law enforcement operations of the College into the Department of Public Safety & Security (DPSS), under the direction of Chief Lauretta Hill and Assistant Chief Herb Ashford, in association with the Commanders at each of our campuses; and
  • We have equipped Dallas College officers with resources and the equipment that we need to respond to an active shooter.
  • DPSS has worked to strengthen and enhance the relationships that Dallas College has with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in North Texas to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive response in the event of emergencies, including an active shooter.
  • DPSS, in association with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, is working on enhanced virtual training opportunities to prepare for an active shooter. In addition to providing that enhanced training opportunity to our law enforcement personnel, we also are considering that same training for all faculty, staff and administrators in the College.
  • Dallas College also is developing a college-wide Identification Badge policy, which will make the display of ID badges uniform throughout the College and which will assist in identifying individuals who might come on our campuses for a purpose not associated with our educational mission.

Although the solution to the active shooter threat in our society is not a function, solely, of providing more police officers, the DPSS continues to assess staffing and allocation of law enforcement personnel at our campuses. We have already hired and continue to evaluate hiring additional officers, as necessary, so that we can provide safety and security on our campuses and at other locations. Regrettably, we must deal with the realities of the hazards which have become so commonplace in our society. However, by working collaboratively, we believe we can continue to make Dallas College as safe and secure as possible for all who come to us to pursue their educational goals and those who work tirelessly here to help students achieve those goals.

Lauretta Hill
Chief of Police

Public Safety and Security
Dallas County Community College
1601 Botham Jean Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75215
Email: ChiefHill@dallascollege.edu
Twitter @commisshill