Is FAMU Prepared?



At Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 32 people were killed April 16, 2007. At Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon nine were killed on Oct. 1. And not many will forget the name Myron May after Nov. 20, 2014 when he shot three people at Florida State University.


All of those schools experienced active shooters. And recently, another type of attack occurred at Ohio State University (OSU). Just nine days ago, a man used his car to injure students. He then jumped out to stab several others setting off an active shooter alert on the university’s campus. Eleven were injured and the attacker was shot dead by a campus officer.


The OSU incident brings the importance of campus safety at Florida A&M and other universities to the forefront. Chief Terence M. Calloway of the FAMU Police Department says the university, “has taken several steps to prepare its faculty, staff, and students,” for an on-campus active shooter through training, electronic applications, and programs.


 “FAMU is the only HBCU in the country to have its own active shooter video,” said Calloway as he expressed the importance of educating the campus on gun violence.


The video to help educate stakeholders is key considering there have been 17 college campus shootings in 2016 and about 205 school shootings since 2013 according to Everytown for Gun Safety – an organization established to end gun violence.


The organization defines a school shooting as “anytime a firearm is discharged inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds, as documented by the press and confirmed through further inquiries with law enforcement.”


Of the 205 school shootings that have been recorded, 91 of them occurred on a college campus. That’s why Calloway says education is key to prepare for an active shooter.


“The preparation for it is one thing, but the education and awareness of it is a totally different scenario,” he said.


FAMU PD has clocked in about 7,300 hours of training and is working towards getting its officers EMT certified, so they may have the ability to act as first responders at the scene before the ambulance arrives.


FSU Police Department also continues to take the necessary steps to prepare students and employees for an active shooter on campus. 


“(FSU PD) continues to provide training seminars and have meetings with employees and students,” said FSU Police Chief David Perry.


FSU PD also utilizes the SeminoleSAFE electronic application to share information regarding campus activity to its students. The app provides emergency alerts, a map, and a tracking option giving the police access to a person’s location.


FAMU’s app is called LiveSafe. It’s used by FAMU PD as a faster and subtle way to communicate with those on campus.


The app provides a safety map, giving the locations of every building on campus and whether or not there was a crime recently committed at that location. There’s an emergency call button equipped with the choice of texting, calling FAMU PD, or 911.The app also allows students to relay tips of any crimes that are occurring in the area. There is an option provided where students can request for a friend to track them as they walk home and vice versa.


Despite the training and education put in place, some on college campuses are concerned about those weapons the law allows for people to carry. Currently, there are 10 states that allow concealed firearms on college campuses.


“Inviting disaster,” is how Director of the FAMU Legal Scholars Preparatory Program Jon Perdue expressed his disapproval of the bill that allows firearms on campuses. Perdue said that if guns were to be allowed on FAMU’s campus he wouldn’t know how to “regard another person.”


“It’ll only make us suspicious of one another,” he said. “Guns are by far the most efficient for killing people and now they want to give them to a bunch of people on campuses.”