AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Over the last decade, colleges have ramped up security due to the sheer number of mass shootings that have occurred. The University of Massachusetts is working to prepare their police officers for the worst case scenario.
Across the country mass shootings have become all too common. Most recently, July 23rd, in Lafayette Louisiana, 59-year-old John Russel Houser killed two people after opening fire in a movie theater. On July 16th in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed four Marines in an attack on a military recruiting center, and a Navy sailor also died later. June 17th in Charleston, South Carolina, 21-year-old Dylan Roof confessed to shooting nine churchgoers in a prayer service.
“It seems like especially in my lifetime, I’ve definitely seen an increase in mass shootings.” said Anna Stone from New York. “It’s almost like every other week a sort of shooting comes about.”
Many police officers, including those at the University of Massachusetts, have increased training exercises for shooting scenarios.
The University of Massachusetts Police Department have been shutting down a Hills House building on campus to conduct their active threat training for a couple weekends out of the summer. That’s because this building has long hallways, many classrooms, and multiple floors, which are common in campus buildings.
The training itself involves realistic scenarios and the use of simulated ammunition training rounds or “Simulnition”, as the police call it. The training bullets sound similar to real bullets being fired, but leave the mark of crayon-like material to show where they land.
“It’s very comforting to know that they’re doing something to basically help.” UMass sophomore Devin Mulligan told 22News. “I hear about mass shootings all the time. I know this year has been pretty bad. It’s almost every week, and I think it’s definitely helpful to have them doing some kind of training it makes me feel safer in some sort of way.”
The training was introduced on campus in 2007, in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.