There have been nearly 300 mass shootings in the United States in 2019. Many colleges and universities have decided that it’s necessary to have a plan in place in case of a shooter on campus.

Missouri Western State University has made it an important aspect of campus safety to prepare officers, faculty and students for what to do in the case of a shooter. The first step is to lock down the campus and isolate the possible shooter.

Another strategy is using the Griffon Alert Notification System to send out alerts to faculty and students.

Western Police Chief Jill Voltmer said she thinks the alert system is a good source for emergencies and wants all students to have it.

“On new student orientation we make sure to go through how to sign up for it,” Voltmer said.

Western also goes through emergency protocol and procedure with new faculty each year. Risk Manager Tim Kissock helps conduct training programs for staff at Western.

“We follow the national protocols where we first tell people to react and if possible, get out of the situation, the run and the hide,” Kissock said.

Western safety staff also train faculty on how to identify concerns in order to get in front of anything that might occur.

“If you see someone that may be in crisis or starting to have signs of a meltdown, we need to know about it,” Kissock said.

Kissock says the school also wants students to look out for disturbing social media posts made by friends or acquaintances.

Voltmer and her staff look into all threats to check credibility and find out what they’re dealing with. There have been false alarms in the past, but Voltmer said they’d rather be in that situation then people not speak up.

“We’d rather have a false alarm or false information that we can verify than someone not come forward,” Voltmer said.

Voltmer said the safety staff is fortunate to have officers on campus 24/7 and have the St. Joseph Police Department help out in the case of a shooter.

The training over the last 10 years has stayed consistent, which Voltmer said is better to build on and they’re continuing to get better.

Bailey Ketcham can be reached