A New Era of Crisis Management How Texas Tech Protects Red Raiders

Between 2013-2015, there were at least 206 school shootings across 38 states.

Preparing for the Unknown: Crisis Preparation at Texas Tech

A recent knife attack at Ohio State University served as a reminder that today’s universities have to be prepared for more than just mass shootings when it comes to emergencies.

Amy Ivey, public relations/crime prevention corporal for the Texas Tech Police Department, said that when they train for crisis situations, they cover as much ground as possible.

“Whenever we here at the Texas Tech Police Department prepare for an active shooter, it can be anywhere from weapons—knives, guns, cars—anything in general that you can use to create a mass homicide,” Ivey said. “Whether it’s chemicals, torches, anything like that, we train for all different events that may occur.”

Ivey said the department also works to raise awareness by giving presentations for “active shooter” situations that cover threats such as guns, knives and vehicles. She said one of the most important things students, faculty and staff can do to stay safe is to stay alert.

“Always have a 360-view of what’s going on around you,” Ivey said. “When you see a lot of the students walking around on campus with headphones on their heads, listening to music, they can’t hear anything that’s going around or they can’t hear gunshots or hear people screaming. So we recommend, when we go out and do the training, keep one earbud out, always know what’s going on around you, look for suspicious people. If anything about anybody looks out of place, contact our Texas Tech Police Department.”

Ivey said the university uses a system of text message notifications through Tech Alert when a crisis occurs. She said the notifications are helpful because they give the police department a way to communicate with students, faculty and staff during an active shooter situation.

“If there is an active shooter in a certain building, we will send out a Tech Alert that will let them know if they need to get out, hide out, and of course if they hide out and the shooter comes in, we train them how to take down the shooter,” Ivey said. “That Tech Alert system is going to be our number one communication line to all of the faculty, staff and students, and it will let them know where the shooting is happening, if they need to hunker down in a certain building, lock the doors, or if they need to get out and take cover and run.”

Chris Cook, managing director of the Office of Communications and Marketing at Texas Tech, said that when it comes to detecting a possible threat, it is the job of everyone on campus to stay alert and to report suspicious activity.

“Just be aware of your surroundings,” Cook said. “This is our students, faculty, staff, anyone visiting campus—be aware of your surroundings, and if anything looks out of place, do the safe thing and report it.”

Cook said that while no crisis situation is ever the same, Texas Tech is preparing by taking notes from the crises other universities across the country have faced.

“We’re prepared as best we can be,” Cook said. “So, from a communications standpoint, but more importantly from a tactical standpoint through Tech P.D. They go through regular training, and no situation is likely ever alike. So what happens at Ohio State, what happens at U.C. Santa Barbara, at other colleges around the country, does not mean it’s going to be the same here. But you plan and prepare the best you can.”

The passage of Senate Bill 11 in Texas, which permits concealed carry on public college campuses, brings a new element to hypothetical crisis situations. Ivey said that when Texas Tech’s police officers are called to a scene, they are trained to respond by calling for everyone present to drop their weapons and put their hands in the air.

“We’re going to handle any individual with a gun just like we would before campus carry,” Ivey said. “All we ask is that if somebody is involved in an active shooter situation and they happen to use their concealed handgun on the suspect or on the shooter, we just asked that they holster their weapon and show their open hands and follow our commands once we arrive on scene.”

Ivey said that when it comes to a crisis situation, the Texas Tech Police Department works with other local law enforcement agencies to ensure that all bases are covered. For example, she said that if an active shooter situation occurred, the Lubbock Police Department would help by surrounding all of the exits and entrances to the campus, and calling for SWAT teams to assess the situation.

“We’re well equipped and ready to handle any kind of crisis here on the university,” Ivey said. “And we have good faith in our faculty, staff and students. We go out and give presentations all the time to kind of give them ideas to keep in the back of their mind, and to train them how to handle a real situation.”

Safety Goes Mobile

As of Fall 2016, the Raider Safe Mobile App was released in an effort from the Student Government Association to help increase safety across the Texas Tech campus.

Former SGA President and first year Tech law student, Holton Westbrook said the app had been in the works for several years.

“We thought, we needed this on campus to provide to our students so they feel more safe,” Westbrook said, “and we’ve thought about this for a couple of years.”

Westbrook said they went through almost 60 different companies to find an app that included features they felt were important and feasible in terms of price. They decided to go with an app called Rave Guardian.

Amy Ivey, crime prevention corporal from the Texas Tech Police Department said the app and the features included are both impressive and important in times of crisis.

“The 911 system doesn’t allow you to text concerns or any kind of crime reports to the police department," Ivey said. “But if individuals sign up with their Texas Tech email address on that Raider Safe app, it will allow them to text anonymous reports, suspicious activity, or anything like that to the police department if they don’t want to physically pick up that phone and hear them call 911.”

In addition, Westbrook said the app allows those walking late at night across campus to be tracked by close friends.

“You can use that app to follow a friend home, if they’re walking across the campus,” Westbrook said. “You can use that app to watch them, make sure they get there safely.”

Westbrook attributes the success of the app to the efforts given by Texas Tech faculty.

“Our administration is more aware of the need for safety and ensuring our student body is feeling secure and continuously across the country we are seeing issues across campuses,” Westbrook said, “and we’ve honestly have had the privilege of not really having on our campus.”

To download the app on a mobile device, search “Rave Guardian,” and log into the app with a TTU email and it will convert to “Raider Safe”.

Protect Yourself with a Concealed Handgun License

With campus carry going into effect this past school year, conversations sparked about a possible increase in college-aged students seeking a License To Carry a handgun.

LTC instructor Stephen Powell said he has not noticed an increase in students applying for LTCs, but business has remained steady.

In order to obtain an LTC in Texas, you must be eligible through a long list of requirements, complete a background check, and attend a course approved by the state.

Lubbock Shooting Complex is one of several locations that offers this service, along with classes to help improve shooting skills.

About Us

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Rachel Blevins

Rachel Blevins is senior journalism major with a minor in public relations from Mineral Wells, Texas. During her time at Texas Tech, she has worked in the marketing department at the College of Media & Communication, and has anchored and produced political segments for MCTV, the college’s newscast. She has also worked as a writer and producer for TruthInMedia.com, and a content creator and editor for WeAreChange.org.

Laura Duclos

Laura Duclos is a December '16 graduate from Texas Tech University with a degree in journalism. Hailing from Sweetwater, Texas, Duclos hopes to pursue a career in media while traveling the world and experiencing new cultures. During her time at Tech, she worked with the MCTV newscast as a production director, content creator, reporter and anchor. Duclos has served as an intern with VICE, KCBD NewsChannel 11 and Limelight Productions and currently serves as a photojournalist for FOX34 until her next adventure finds her. In her free time, she enjoys creating silly videos and spending quality time with her dog, Winston.

Megan Reyna

Megan Reyna is from The Woodlands, TX and is pursuing a duel degree in Dance and Journalism at Texas Tech University. While at Tech, Megan has been a member of Society of Professional Journalists, Vitality Dance Company, University Dance Company and Chi Tau Epsilon. She also is an Ambassador for the College of Performing and Visual Arts and anchors for Tech’s broadcast segment, MCTV. After interning with Fox34 Summer of 2016, she started working as an associate producer the following Fall for their morning show, Good Day Lubbock. In her free time, Megan loves to sing and dance around with her roommates, always trying to keep the mood light and fun.

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Laura Duclos

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