UCCS chief of police discusses safety video for active shooting situations 

The UCCS Police Department is filming a safety video to inform students on what to do in the event of an active shooting situation. 

UCCS chief of police Dewayne McCarver said UCCS is collaborating with other CU schools to film this short safety video, which will educate students on how to respond to an active shooting using a national model that outlines three steps to take in such situations. The police departments from each campus are splitting the cost to pay for the production. 

The video is named after the national model “Run, Hide, Fight,” which McCarver said is a very simple three-step process that students can easily remember in a stressful and traumatic situation. 

“If you have not prepared mentally for what to do when this happens, you’ll freeze. You’ll deliberate, as we say,” McCarver said. “So, ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ is something that’s really simple. Once you’ve thought it through once, you can react quickly.”  

To ensure the video is handled responsibly, McCarver explained everyone behind it is making sure it is informative but not triggering to students. He mentioned a professional producer was hired and student actors will be in the film.  

“We don’t want people to be scared. We want them to be prepared,” McCarver said, “One of the most frightening things is not knowing what to do, and so it’s my job to make sure that our staff and students and the members of this community know that plan.”  

McCarver said the video will show steps to take in an active shooter situation without being unnecessarily violent or graphic. He said the video will not “simulate blood” or show people writhing in pain.  

“There’s no reason for a video like this to be traumatic. There’s no reason for, you know, goriness whatsoever … we are showing the steps to take without being overt or even being violent other than showing the movements that would be important,” McCarver said.  

McCarver explained these important movements could include demonstrations on what gunfire sounds like. 

“Historically, people have said in actual active shooter events ‘I heard the noise, but I thought someone just dropped a book,’” McCarver said, “And that moment where they hesitated was important. So, we want people to understand that when you think you might hear something, you should go ahead and take some action.” 

McCarver emphasized the video will only show what he and his fellow police officers feel is vital information for the public to know, noting the video will include in-depth information on each of the steps of “Run, Hide, Fight” through visual demonstrations. 

The video will be similar to the video of “Run, Hide, Fight” that was produced by Indiana University. 

McCarver outlined a brief description of what each step will look like in the video:  

  • Run: This should be the first action to take, if possible. Get far enough away from the harmer, and then contact the police and provide information like location and the description of the harmer when you are at a safe distance.  
  • Hide: If it is not possible to run, hide. It is important to know nearby places the harmer is likely to pass by and to turn off lights, close doors, silence your phone and get out of sight. 
  • Fight: Fighting should be the last case scenario. Know how to fight in the situation and work with as many as you can to take the weapon(s) away from the harmer then take the harmer down.  

McCarver explained that a lot of preparation for active shooting situations is having thought it through beforehand and knowing your space, specifically, knowing where your exits are. 

“Can you get out of a window? Maybe you’re on the third floor and windows aren’t an option … Think about how the doors operate in your classroom, you know. Do they lock? Do they open from the inside or the outside? Those are details that everyone should be aware of every time they’re in a new space,” McCarver said. 

While the case of an active shooting is extremely rare, McCarver said it’s his job to make UCCS as safe as possible. 

“There’s no way you can guarantee safety. But if I lose sleep at night, it’s because I’m afraid that I have not properly taken care of the people here,” McCarver said, “This is a big part of making sure that everybody understands what they need to do.” 

According to McCarver, the video could be released as late as January due to other campuses still needing to film their parts and the time it takes for edits to be approved.  

Students can visit the UCCS Police Department’s website to learn more about what to do in an active shooting situation or download the UCCS Safe app.  

UCCS’ police officers shoot a safety video for active shooting situations on campus. Photo by Lillian Davis.